These are the four kinds of drunks, according to science

It sounds like the kind of time-wasting quiz that dominated the web in the early 2000s, but psychologists from the University of Missouri, Columbia, are now ready to ask the question in a (slightly) more serious format. What kind of drunk are you?

These are the four kinds of drunks, according to science

Based on surveys filled out by the subjects, the scientists were able to narrow down drinking behaviours to four subgroups, each one taking its cues from literature and pop-culture.

The Ernest Hemingwayernest_hemingway_drinking

First up, and representing just over 40% of the 374 participants in the study, were the Ernest Hemingways. In something of a cop-out answer, these are people whose behaviour simply doesn’t change as they drink.

They have the honour of being named after the famous author, who boasted that he could “drink hells any amount of whiskey without getting drunk”. In short, a night out with Hemingway – or any of his modern namesakes – probably wouldn’t be cheap.

The Mary Poppinsmary_poppins

By contrast, a night out with a “Mary Poppins” would be a delight. These types are, as Ms Poppins put it in the 1964 film, “practically perfect in every way”.

“These types are, as Ms Poppins put it in the 1964 film, ‘practically perfect in every way’.”

Drinkers who fall into this category are sweet-as-pie when sober, but adding booze only makes them even more happy and fun. I think the world needs more Mary Poppins, with only 14% of participants matching this trait, which isn’t a sentence I envisaged myself writing today.

The Mr Hydemr_hyde_drunk

You know that type of person who becomes a total jerk after a few drinks? Well that’s a Mr Hyde, representing 22% of the participants – and we certainly don’t need any more of them.

To put it in academic lingo, these drinkers are “particularly less responsible, less intellectual, and more hostile when under the influence of alcohol.” I can probably think of some less charitable descriptions – but I suppose that’s why I’m not a lead-author of the study. Against stereotype, two-thirds of these were female.

The Nutty Professor nutty_professor_drunk

“These drinkers come out of their shells after being chemically altered.”

Finally, there are the Nutty Professors. Like Eddie Murphy’s character in the 1996 remake, these drinkers come out of their shells after being chemically altered – on this occasion following a couple of pints and a Jäeger Bomb, rather than the pharmaceuticals in the movie. Of the group studied, 19% could be compared to Professor Klump.

You probably have two questions right now: how and why? The “how” is pretty straightforward. Undergraduates from the university were asked to fill in a 40-minute personality test, while a drinking buddy “who knows what [they] are like when both sober and drunk” filled in a second one on their behalf. I’m not sure that it’s ethical to get people drunk for the purpose of a study, so this was a good middle ground.

As for why? Well, the researchers write that “these results, as well as the concept of ‘drunk personality’ more broadly, hold promise for developing novel assessment- based and motivational interventions for problem drinkers.”

After all, Mary Poppins with an alcohol dependency will need treatment, even though the Mr Hyde demanding that you pay for his spilled pint may appear the more pressing concern…   

Images: Charles D P Miller, Jennie Park, Oscar Palop, Dennis Skley, Florida Keys Public Library used under Creative Commons. 

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos