Holding a drink 'makes you look stupid'

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The Independent Online

Next time you wake up the morning after, there's no need to wonder if you made an idiot of yourself the night before. You did.

Apparently, just standing holding a drink changes, for the worse, colleagues' and bosses' assumptions about your brain power. Researchers have called this "imbibing idiot bias".

Although most people think they look more intelligent when ordering or holding a glass of wine, the opposite is true, according to new research from the universities of Michigan and Pennsylvania, based on five studies involving over 1,300 people.

"The results suggest holding wine can selectively reduce perceived intelligence,'' say the researchers, whose findings are to appear in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. "They also suggest that imbibing idiot bias may be costly in professional settings involving alcohol."

In one of the studies, men and women rated the intelligence of people holding a glass of beer, wine or water. Results show that the alcohol-holders were rated as significantly less intelligent.

In another, people were asked to rate a speaker's arguments when he or she was holding a beer or a soft drink. Their arguments were viewed as less persuasive, and the speaker was seen as significantly less intelligent when drinking beer.

In a third study, 300 senior managers rated people being interviewed for a job over dinner. Interviewees could order wine or a soft drink. The managers rated the job candidates as significantly less hireable when they ordered wine.