Scientific research on office parties

It is an annual event that usually leads to red faces the morning after.

It is an annual event that usually leads to red faces the morning after.

Now scientists have come up with an explanation for 
why the office party is so 
often the cause of embarrassing and inappropriate 

Researchers have found that drinking in environments not normally associated with alcohol consumption can leave drinkers less able to control their behaviour.

The brain learns to compensate for the inhibition lowering effects of alcohol when in a familiar setting, such as a pub or at home with friends, they discovered.

However, if they drink in 
an unfamiliar environment such as the workplace, 
where they are usually sober and focused, drinkers do not benefit from tolerance and lose control of their inhibitions.

Dr Suzanne Higgs, who led the research at the school of psychology at the University of Birmingham, said: “We know alcohol has a disinhibitory effect.

“We found that when people drank in a particular context, such as in the same room, 
they developed a tolerance over time and the 
disinhibitory effect of alcohol went away.

“When we exposed them to alcohol in a different environment, they were less inhibited again.

“When you drink in the pub, we have generally had lots of experience of that and have learned to build up tolerance. As you don’t normally drink alcohol at work, you haven’t had the chance to build up this tolerance so people tend to be less inhibited.”