We recently wrote about the high rate of human bite wounds in Dublin, Ireland, and noted that 82% of the injuries happened between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., a time period when pub-goers stagger home after lord knows how many pints. What's more, 86% of these bite incidents involved the consumption of alcohol. But it need not be this way!
Scientists at the University of Kentucky have shown that there's an easy way to stop drunks picking fights. Give them a challenging mental task to perform -- a jigsaw, say, or a current affairs quiz, perhaps a level 5 Sudoku puzzle? That'll calm 'em down, if they don't deck you first.
The two set up a lab experiment in which young male volunteers were given three to four screwdriver cocktails and then paired with others in a stressful game. When a subject messed up, his opponent could zap him with an electric shock. When he messed up himself, he got shocked.
While all this was going on, some of the drinkers were given a challenging memory task to perform at the same time, thus distracting attention from the mounting aggravation.
The findings, which were published in the journal Psychological Science: The men who'd drunk the screwdrivers and were undistracted during the game became angry and aggressive.
The men who were sober became somewhat ticked off as well. (Understandably.)
The most beatific of the bunch? Sober, nondrinkers doing the memory game at the same time as the shock-zapping game.
We are alerting the Vintners' Federation of Ireland and other appropriate organizations. Expect changes.
Fancy a walk down to the pub for a crossword?
-- Rosie Mestel