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The four types of drunks, according to science

There are many types of people in this world. Psychologists tell us there are introverts, extroverts, Type A and Type B – a whole field dedicated to organising us into specific personality types. But they’ve shamefully been ignoring the most important type of scientific exploration – what sort of drunks are there?

Why does my mate Matt, who is as quiet as a mouse when he’s sober – suddenly become an unstoppable, raging party monster when a drop of scotch hits his lips?

And why does Kristy go from being a stone-cold ice-queen normally, to giving unwanted slobbery kisses on the cheek and telling everyone she loves them?

Well finally ‘science’ has come to its senses and dedicated its resources to this noble pursuit. I give you the four types of drunk:

1. The Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway enjoying a drink in Cuba. (Ida Woodward Barron Collection)

Ernest Hemingway enjoying a drink in Cuba. (Ida Woodward Barron Collection)

The world of literature is littered with famous alcoholics, but perhaps none as notorious as Ernest Hemingway who once boasted he could “drink hells any amount of whiskey without getting drunk”.

These people are the ‘heavyweights’ who can seemingly drink their bodyweight in liquor and still have no trouble getting into the club.

They’re the most common group, consisting of about 40% of the population, and researchers found they have only slight changes to their personality and maintain the majority of their cognitive abilities.

2. The Mr Hyde

These people are the second largest category, accounting for about a quarter of us.

They are the evil twin, the angry drunks.

According to the study they become “particularly less responsible, less intellectual, and more hostile when under the influence of alcohol.”

You can expect them to use such phrases as “OI, YOU LOOKIN’ AT ME M8?!”, to which the correct answer is…nothing, just say nothing and keep walking – avoid eye contact and sudden movements.

3. The Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins’ are usually pretty outgoing and bubbly individuals but a few drinks really ramps this up a notch.

They’re the ones tearing up the dance-floor, complimenting everyone’s outfit and buying everyone shots.

By the end of the night you’ll end up saying “Oh my god, drunk x, is the best x” about your Mary Poppins friend.

4. The Nutty Professor

Two words: liquid courage.

Getting its name from the famous Eddie Murphy character, Nutty Professors are usually shy, quiet and introverted but four beers deep and they’re suddenly the life of the party.

Alcohol somehow magically transforms these curious creatures from withdrawn caterpillars to social butterflies, often with hilarious results.

But while this research may all seem like a bit of a laugh, there’s an important, serious side to it.

As lead researcher Rachel Winograd from the University of Missouri-Columbia says,

“I think what is a more immediate clinical utility of this research is putting in a language how we are when drunk.

When we are able to do this, we develop terms to help guide interventions for those abusing alcohol, and possibly struggling with alcohol-related addiction.”

Identifying drunk personalities can better help us understand people’s motivations for drinking which could mean we’re better able to deal with alcoholism.

Now I’m off to have a quiet beer before bed…for…science.

About the author

Riordan is Techly’s News and Social Editor. He promises to tweet more at @riordanl

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Comments (1)


    Monday 19 October 2015

    They forgot the maudlin drunk. The one who starts off ok and deteriorates into a weeping wreck.