Researchers Rachel Pearl Winograd, Douglas Steinley, and Kenneth Sher of the Department of Psychological Sciences at University of Missouri-Columbia recently published a paper detailing their attempts to classify drinkers into types. Or, in how they chose to title the paper: Searching for Mr. Hyde: A five-factor approach to characterizing “types of drunks.”
The researchers, after reading some articles on the web with titles like “The 12 types of drunk people you’ll encounter at a bar” and “The 7 kinds of drunk people you’ll find at parties,” decided to turn those anecdotal lists into something scientific. So, in the name of science, these psychologists had 374 undergraduate men and women — actually pairs of “drinking buddies” all from a “Midwestern University” — complete 40 minute personality tests, once based on how they act when sober, and again when they’d had a few too many. Based on the results of those polls, they divided the world into four classes of drinkers, each named after a famous personality. Here they are, from most to least common.
These folks, almost half, don’t change all that much when they’re drunk, much like “Papa,” who drank a whole lot and could hold his liquor.
Specifically, members of this group reported decreasing less in Conscientiousness and Intellect than the rest of the sample…Additionally, this cluster was not associated with experiencing more alcohol-related consequences and therefore could be thought of as encapsulating the majority of drinkers who tend not to undergo drastic character changes or experience harms.
We’re just going to put it out there that labelling the “majority of drinkers” as “Hemingways” is an interesting choice.
The Nutty Professor
The next largest group were “The Nutty Professors,” who, like the film character, change a lot once intoxicated — essentially going from introverted to extroverted.
So, although the personality change displayed by ‘‘The Nutty Professors’’ may be the most dramatic, this does not appear to be associated with elevated harm – at least in terms of the alcohol-related consequences assessed in this study.
Roughly 14% fall into the “Mary Poppins” category — friendly and agreeable when sober — and even more friendly and agreeable when drunk.
The Mary Poppins group of drinkers essentially captures the sweet, responsible drinkers who experience fewer alcohol-related problems compared to those most affected.
The ominously named “Mr. Hyde” group self-report as less responsible, less intellectual, and more hostile after drinking — in other words that guy or gal.
This was the only cluster that was statistically more likely to experience alcohol consequences, suggesting that individuals in this group not only embody less savoury personality characteristics when drunk, but also incur acute harm from their drinking.
So, what kind of drunk are you?