Washington: It's well known that drinking can make some people more aggressive. Now, a new study has found a particular personality trait that appears to make someone mean under the influence alcohol.
   
Researchers at the Ohio State University in the US found that people who focus on the present with little regard of consequences are more likely to become mean when drunk.
   
"People who focus on the here and now, without thinking about the impact on the future, are more aggressive than others when they are sober, but the effect is magnified greatly when they're drunk," said Brad Bushman, a Professor of communication and psychology who led the study.
   
"If you carefully consider the consequences of your actions, it is unlikely getting drunk is going to make you any more aggressive than you usually are," Bushman said.

Alcohol is believed to have a myopic effect, causing drinkers to focus on the most important aspects of a situation while ignoring the more peripheral features.
   
But, for people who are prone to concentrate on the here-and-now rather than on consequences, alcohol-induced myopia can exaggerate this tendency, Bushman and colleagues wrote in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
   
To test how personality factored in, the research team began by assessing how focused nearly 500 social drinkers were on the present, using an assessment called the Consideration of Future Consequences scale.
   
Then they gave some participants a drink consisting of five parts orange juice to one part strong alcohol. Others got a glass of juice mixed with a small amount of alcohol and with alcohol sprayed onto it to give the impression of a stronger drink. All the volunteers thought they were consuming the equivalent of three or four mixed drinks.
   
Afterward, both groups participated in what they were told was a computer-based, speed reaction competition against an anonymous opponent. After each trial, the winner would deliver an electric shock to the loser, with 34 trials in all.
   
In reality, there was no opponent. Researchers had the participants "lose" half the time, receiving shocks of increasing intensity and length over the course of the 34 trials. The researchers observed to see who would retaliate.
   
The drunken participants who focused on the present shocked their imaginary opponents longer and harder than those with similar impulsive personalities who drank the placebo.
   
Meanwhile, drunkenness had little effect for participants who are future-focused, the researchers found.
   
The link between alcohol and aggressiveness has already been established. According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, alcohol was a factor in up to 37 percent of violent crimes committed between 1997 and 2008.

(Agencies)