There’s nothing like an open bar to turn a mandatory office gathering into a late-night party, where even the most argumentative coworkers can get along. But while alcohol has a reputation for breaking down social barriers, does it really work as a social lubricant?
To answer this question, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh put strangers together in groups of three and told them they were studying how alcohol would affect their execution of certain tasks. In reality, though, those sneaky scientists were zeroing in on how a few cocktails impacted their interactions with each other. And even sneakier: One group was knowingly given vodka and cranberry, another was knowingly given cranberry juice, and the last was given a virgin cocktail in glasses wiped with alcohol—so they only thought they were drinking.
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