People under influence of alcohol are quicker to help in other’s presence, says study

People under influence of alcohol are quicker to help in other’s presence, says study

Alcohol consumption is usually associated with anti-social behavior, such as vandalism and violence. However, now there is a twist in the tale. A new research has found that people under the influence of alcohol are quick to offer help. Thanks to the alcohol that makes people think less, respond proactively, and help the needy without bothering about bystanders.

The study, “Booze, Bars, and Bystander Behavior: People Who Consumed Alcohol Help Faster in the Presence of Others,” published in the Frontiers in Psychology in 2016, highlighted a positive effect of alcohol consumption. It suggested that people under the influence of alcohol came to aid faster in the presence of bystanders.

People are less likely to volunteer to help when bystanders are present. The presence of bystanders tends to discourage their decision to offer help. More the bystanders, lesser the likelihood of helping, suggested previous research studies. According to the researchers of the study, “The decision to help or not is often based on an implicit calculation in which people outweigh the (emotional) costs and benefits of helping, versus those of not helping.”

People usually avoid helping for two reasons. First, they fear to have misinterpreted the situation, thinking that help is actually not required. Secondly, people may be worried about getting into some trouble, thereby, deterring their willingness to help.

Understanding alcohol and bystander effect

Aimed at testing if alcohol can overcome the negative influence exerted by bystander presence on helping, the latest study was carried out in actual bars in Amsterdam. In line with the bystander effect, the researchers had expected to witness an inhibition to offer help in the presence of bystanders.

A total of 120 people, visiting different bars in Amsterdam, voluntarily participated in the study. Further, the results were based on three parameters: helping behavior, response behavior and alcohol consumption. The results of the study revealed a positive association between alcohol consumption and decreased bystander effect (in terms of reaction times). It was found that people under the influence of alcohol acted faster to help in comparison to sober participants.

The reluctance of sober people to help may be attributed to their increased focus on the potential risk of helping. The presence of others around may also make them conscious, causing the fear of embarrassment or confusion of responsibility. On the contrary, it was easy for people under the influence of alcohol to decide if they are ready to help. They feel less inhibited and less mindful of potential risks of helping others.

The study concluded, “The foremost finding from the current contribution is that alcohol does not simply attenuate the entire bystander effect, but only increases response speeds. This could imply that the influences that seriously undermine helping and intervention may slow down the decision process but do not actually change it.”

Seeking timely treatment for alcohol addiction

Though the study highlighted a positive aspect of drinking, the fact is that alcohol is not good for health. It affects a person physically, mentally and socially. There is nothing like beneficial drinking. Remember, excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost each year in the United States, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you or someone you love is battling alcohol addiction, contact the Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California to seek timely treatment. Contact us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1715 or chat online to know about treatment centers for alcohol addiction in California. One should not delay treatment and avoid any untoward event.

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