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Study: Heavily Intoxicated Men Described Differently Than Women

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A new study is adding yet another difference between men and women: the way a person is described when they are drunk.

According to the study, published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, drunken guys were described with terms that indicated excessive consumption while women were described using more moderate terms.

"Drinkers use a complex set of physical and cognitive indicators to estimate intoxication," said Ash Levitt, a research scientist at the Research Institute on Addictions at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, in a press release. "In order to quickly and easily communicate various levels of intoxication, drinkers distill these indicators down into distinct sets of natural language terms for intoxication, such as 'tipsy' or 'wasted.' Understanding this language is important as these terms reflect levels of intoxication as well as whether individuals are accurately estimating intoxication levels when they use these terms."

According to CBS News, 145 undergraduate students were asked to take a survey that included one of eight vignettes that involved people celebrating at a birthday party. After reading a description of the main character's behavior and how many drinks the person had, surveyors were asked to describe the character.

Results showed that when both a male or female main character behaved moderately drunk they were described as "buzzed" or "tipsy," but when a male was heavily drunk he was described as "hammered" or "trashed" and heavily drunk females were still described as "tipsy."

"One potential real-world implication that this research suggests is that women may be at increased risk for alcohol-related consequences such as drunk driving if they or their friends underestimate how intoxicated they are by using moderate terms like 'tipsy' to describe them when, in fact, they are heavily intoxicated and heavy terms would be more accurate," said Levitt.

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