The Null Device

Social lubricant

From a Graun article on drinking culture in Britain, the following tidbits:
The timelessness of our desire to get drunk has led anthropologists such as Kate Fox, director of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford, to speculate about the British character. She concluded that we are all suffering from a "congenital sociability disorder", a disease whose symptoms are akin to a kind of autism combined with agoraphobia. In plain talk, the British are uniquely buttoned up and starched stiff. Animal watcher Desmond Morris says that if we were monkeys we would be picking imaginary fleas out of each other's fur, in an act of "social grooming", a pretext for prolonging social encounters. Instead we have for centuries propped up the bar.
A national characteristic has been identified in numerous scientific trials. In one, British volunteers were plied with drinks, all purporting to be alcohol, half of which were placebos. Everyone became equally loud, crude and garrulous, the technically sober behaving identically to the genuinely drunk. Similar tests carried out on volunteers from Mediterranean countries found no such associations. Scientists concluded that British people invested alcohol with "magical disinhibiting powers".

I wonder how this experiment would have run in Australia.

There are 2 comments on "Social lubricant":

Posted by: dj http://deej.bah.id.au Sun Nov 21 07:21:40 2004

From memory of a uni Anthropology essay on Aborgingal Health, it's been done with some Aboriginal people and at least one experiment found similar behaviours.

Posted by: debbie http://www.yahoo.com Tue Oct 25 16:13:21 2005

concise note on social grooming as a lubricant.

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