You know when you’re out with your friends at a bar, and you’ve all had the same amount to drink, yet one friend is giggling uncontrollably, another is telling a hilarious story to a group of strangers, a third is picking a fight with the bouncer, and the last is talking to the bartender as if those four Jägerbombs never happened? You might have wondered, well, what’s up with that?
Science to the rescue. Psychology researchers from the University of Missouri at Columbia have published a study in Addiction Research & Theory attempting to bring the conventional wisdom that there are many distinct ways to be drunk to its logical, scientifically-based conclusion. Their study, which involved 374 undergraduates at a large Midwestern university, drew from literature and pop culture in order to conclude that there are four types of drinkers: the Mary Poppins, the Ernest Hemingway, the Nutty Professor and the Mr. Hyde.
The first and largest group — about 40% — was the Ernest Hemingways. Named for the writer who famously boasted that he could “drink hells any amount of whiskey without getting drunk,” Hemingways do not exhibit any major changes in personality when they transition from sober to drunk, the study contends.
In contrast, Mary Poppins drinkers follow the “practically perfect in every way” description Poppins bestows on herself in the 1964 movie: they are already outgoing types who somehow get sweeter and happier with alcohol.
After that come the Nutty Professors, named for the chemically-altered academic with a second personality immortalized by Eddie Murphy. They, the study says, are natural introverts who shed their inhibitions with special vigor when they drink, showing a flashier and more social side.
And, lastly, there are the Mr. Hydes: the evil-twin drinkers who are, according to the study, “particularly less responsible, less intellectual, and more hostile when under the influence of alcohol.”
The study authors hope to use these categories to tailor future alcoholism interventions to particular personality types. Meanwhile, you can use them to take bets on how many beers in your Nutty Professor friend will have had enough to start flirting with that brunette by the jukebox.
Read more about the study here.