16 votes

What kind of drunk are you?

In the research article, "Searching for Mr. Hyde: A five-factor approach to characterizing
'types of drunks'", scientists identified four types of clusters:

  • Cluster 1 - "Hemingway"

the largest and included those who reported only slightly changing when intoxicated. Specifically, members of this group reported decreasing less in Conscientiousness (e.g. being prepared, organized, prompt) and Intellect (e.g. understanding abstract ideas, being imaginative) than the rest of the sample. Notably, two previous studies have found that, on average, these two factors reportedly decrease the most with intoxication (Winograd et al., 2012, 2014), so the moderate decreases demonstrated by this group make its members stand out as being ‘‘less affected’’ than drinkers in some of the other groups, much like the author Ernest Hemingway, who claimed that he could "drink hells any amount of whiskey without getting drunk".

  • Cluster 2 - "Mary Poppins"

composed of a small number of drinkers (approximately 14% of the sample) who are particularly Agreeable when sober (i.e. embodying traits of friendliness), and decrease less than average in Conscientiousness, Intellect, and Agreeableness when intoxicated. Accordingly, members of this cluster reported experiencing fewer overall alcohol consequences than those in the Mr. Hyde cluster (described next). The Mary Poppins group of drinkers essentially captures the sweet, responsible drinkers who experience fewer alcohol-related problems compared to those most affected.

  • Cluster 3 - "Mr. Hyde"

defined by larger than average intoxication-related decreases in Conscientiousness, Intellect and Agreeableness. In other words, members of this group, much like the dark-sided Mr.Hyde, reported a tendency of being particularly less responsible, less intellectual, and more hostile when under the influence of alcohol than they are when they are sober, as well as relative to members of the other groups. In the significant model associating overall negative consequences with cluster membership, the Mr. Hyde cluster drove the association. 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 (e.g. experiencing a memory blackout; beenarrested because of drunken behaviour; see Hurlurt & Sher,1992, for a full list of YAAPST items)

  • Cluster 4 - "The Nutty Professor"

tended to be particularly introverted when sober but demonstrated a large increase in Extraversion and decrease in Conscientiousness when drunk, relative to their sober levels
of these traits. They also tended to report having the most overall discrepancy between their reported sober and drunk FFM traits, as indicated by the lowest ICC of the four clusters (0.05). Surprisingly, membership in this cluster was not associated with experiencing more alcohol-related consequences within the past year. 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.


Although I don't drink, when I used to I would be the most extroverted person in the room (or gaming lobby). I distinctly remember making friends with everyone that I encountered online and in-person. Cue the next morning when I have to cull all the new contacts I received because I knew I would never talk to those people again unless I was drinking. So I guess I am a nutty professor since I am always the most introverted person in the room sober. This was an interesting study, and I think it is interesting to note the individual differences of people when inebriated, and what causes those individual differences.

18 comments

  1. FishFingus
    Link
    What, that's it? I get buzzed at one and a half pints, then stare stupidly into the middle distance with a goofy grin on my face until I eventually fall asleep.

    What, that's it? I get buzzed at one and a half pints, then stare stupidly into the middle distance with a goofy grin on my face until I eventually fall asleep.

    5 votes
  2. [4]
    jgb
    Link
    I suppose I'm probably type 4. I think that Type 1 is perhaps the most interesting though. It's the most bizarre thing to see someone seem barely affected by drink right up to the point where they...

    I suppose I'm probably type 4. I think that Type 1 is perhaps the most interesting though. It's the most bizarre thing to see someone seem barely affected by drink right up to the point where they turn around and throw up in the sink.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      Loire
      Link Parent
      I was a type 1 for the longest time before I "quit" drinking. I blame University for training that skill. Could put away a 40oz/1.15l bottle of whiskey in a single night by the end there. A...

      I was a type 1 for the longest time before I "quit" drinking. I blame University for training that skill.

      Could put away a 40oz/1.15l bottle of whiskey in a single night by the end there. A 26oz/750ml bottle put me in the perfect zone. Anything in a normal range left me "unaffected" at least to the perceptions of those around me.

      The truth is the Hemingway isn't completely unaffected, they simply don't present in ways that others, especially drunk people, would expect. I would become significantly more sociable, and willing to take confident actions that I never would have sober. I've been told by family that knows me well that my eyes would glaze over.

      The type one's are still getting drunk. They just have more control over the stupidly obvious side effects of drinking.

      4 votes
      1. jgb
        Link Parent
        Maybe this is true for some, but the specific incident that I reference in the comment above was with a lad in his second week of University - whom I am almost certain was the opposite of an...

        Maybe this is true for some, but the specific incident that I reference in the comment above was with a lad in his second week of University - whom I am almost certain was the opposite of an experienced drinker.

        1 vote
    2. UniquelyGeneric
      Link Parent
      Back in college I can remember a bad night where I ended up having a conversation with someone as I'm vomiting outside, politely reassuring them that I'm OK, and more embarrassed than anything to...

      Back in college I can remember a bad night where I ended up having a conversation with someone as I'm vomiting outside, politely reassuring them that I'm OK, and more embarrassed than anything to have to be purging.

      The Hemingway's default mode network must operate at such a low level of the kernel it can still operate when someone's higher functions have turned off.

      1 vote
  3. stu2b50
    Link
    I would say 2, but more muted in effect. I just get "happier", basically impossible to piss off, and more open. So I like to drink in social situations, but not really alone. At a party/wet event,...

    I would say 2, but more muted in effect. I just get "happier", basically impossible to piss off, and more open. So I like to drink in social situations, but not really alone.

    At a party/wet event, I usually like to take a few shots at the beginning, so I can start tipsy+, since it just makes the experience better. Knock on wood, but I haven't made any particularly bad decisions, and I as of yet have been able to keep from drinking until blacking out.

    3 votes
  4. UniquelyGeneric
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm type 1, and I never really started drinking until college. At that point I was easily blacking out and no one knew I couldn't remember certain parts of the night because I was being...

    I'm type 1, and I never really started drinking until college. At that point I was easily blacking out and no one knew I couldn't remember certain parts of the night because I was being particularly amusing and coherent. I think my general composure while drinking is what led me to take it in excess socially and become an alcoholic. I was very introverted in my life up until college, when I think alcohol and other experimentation "unlocked" a more sociable and agreeable personality.

    Where some people may see the "Hemingway" as my regular personality, it's really a side that's more suave due to the social lubricant. That being said, I have been told I've been able to keep my coherence on psychedelics much better than others, so I could just have more flexibility and/or stability in my mental OS.

    I think I share some affinity with Mary Poppins and the Nutty Professor types as well, but luckily I've never been a Mr. Hyde. I have run into those types of drunks, though, and they are always untrustworthy when in that state. I'm glad I'm a happy drunk and don't have to worry too much about if I blackout, but Mr. Hydes always seem to be masking some underlying personal struggle.

    3 votes
  5. ohyran
    Link
    I have no idea... When I drink I tend to go through different points of "drunkedness". Barely drunk, brain hollers "You need to drink more!". At this stage I really swipe down beers at a rather...

    I have no idea... When I drink I tend to go through different points of "drunkedness".

    1. Barely drunk, brain hollers "You need to drink more!". At this stage I really swipe down beers at a rather impressive rate.
    2. Inspired drunk, I am affable, friendly, creative and can talk for ever and work on ideas and concepts. It's an awesome level of drunk btw.
    3. Slurry drunk. One beer too many. I can't really handle my brain and speech. Talk weirdly, around other drunk people I tend to sit and listen (appearently I don't look that drunk though, just quiet) around sober people I am even more evasive since I feel guilty of appearing drunk.
    4. Shut down and sleepy. At this stage I go home. Its the BEST skill I have. The house could be on fire, I could be in another country. My hands will pick up all my things. My feet will suddenly get me out and start going home. If no means of transport is around like a bus, a tram, subway or bike I will walk all the way home and go to bed.

    Lately its been too much alcohol for me, and what that does is #2 is less common. I start going from 1 to 3 or 4 directly. Which is one of the reasons I have started to cut down on alcohol.

    3 votes
  6. JoylessAubergine
    Link
    I dont know, probably a Type 1. I've never been a drinker who wants to climb and jump off shit and i'm definitely not one of those drunks who wants to hug everyone and tell them they are my best...

    I dont know, probably a Type 1. I've never been a drinker who wants to climb and jump off shit and i'm definitely not one of those drunks who wants to hug everyone and tell them they are my best friend but i not a maudlin drinker either. I think because i dont become a "X drunk" people think i can handle my booze more than i can. I suspect i come across as a nicer person when drunk because i don't have that filter in my head that makes me second guess compliments. Getting out of my own head has always been my favourite part drinking.

    2 votes
  7. Tygrak
    Link
    I guess I would probably be a type 1. To me it feels like my personality doesn't change basically at all, although I would guess that in reality I am much more extroverted when drinking and much...

    I guess I would probably be a type 1. To me it feels like my personality doesn't change basically at all, although I would guess that in reality I am much more extroverted when drinking and much more willing personal stuff I normally wouldn't. I don't drink heavily at all though, most often just a few beers max, and when I rarely drink something else I still feel like this is pretty true. I guess I am just lucky that I don't overindulge too much, so that might just be it and it's not really that I am type 1. But when I ask my friends if my personality changes when drinking, they say that it doesn't - they might just be too nice to say anything else though haha.

    Once, when I was at a tiny party with a few of my friends I drank quite a bit, as always didn't really feel too drunk. But when I went to sleep I got into a panic attack, fearing I am going to throw up. I didn't even throw up in the end, guess I just didn't eat enough and drink enough water. So after that experience I am even more cautious, because having panic attacks isn't fun.

    2 votes
  8. Farun
    Link
    I can't talk about what it would do to me these days, since I haven't really touched alcohol in over 10 years. When I was a teenager, I'd say it was very dependent on my general mental state. I...

    I can't talk about what it would do to me these days, since I haven't really touched alcohol in over 10 years. When I was a teenager, I'd say it was very dependent on my general mental state. I distinctly remember becoming quite creepy at times, at least from a sober, personal point of view. Other times I just had fun. Or blacked out. So a combination of Mr. Hyde / The Nutty Professor I suppose, considering I am or at least used to be quite introverted otherwise.

    Still no regrets about giving alcohol up, such a useless drug.

    2 votes
  9. kaveri
    Link
    At first I was happy and relaxed, and often sleepy after. With worsening mental state (depression) I have become more angry and fed up with everything. I shouted at my girlfriend today, because I...

    At first I was happy and relaxed, and often sleepy after. With worsening mental state (depression) I have become more angry and fed up with everything. I shouted at my girlfriend today, because I was drunk. Do not drink.

    2 votes
  10. mrbig
    Link
    I can become overtly social at the start but drunk @mrbig is very similar to regular @mrbig to be point it’s not even funny. Eventually I may or may not puke.

    I can become overtly social at the start but drunk @mrbig is very similar to regular @mrbig to be point it’s not even funny. Eventually I may or may not puke.

    2 votes
  11. aymm
    Link
    Type 4, clearly. I tend to become super talkative and extroverted when drunk. I have a tendency to text random friends about how much they mean to me after not even that much alcohol. (I'm not...

    Type 4, clearly. I tend to become super talkative and extroverted when drunk. I have a tendency to text random friends about how much they mean to me after not even that much alcohol. (I'm not even exaggerating when I do, I message those who do mean a lot to me, but sober me isn't one to tell them that out of the blue!)

    Surprisingly, membership in this cluster was not associated with experiencing more alcohol-related consequences within the past year. 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.

    Looking at my own behaviour, it doesn't surprise me that much. I still don't chat up strangers, I'm just displaying more affection towards my friends and I'm more willing to talk about random crap and do smalltalk than sober me. Basically, I care less about the topic of the conversation and don't try to actively find sometihng to talk about, I just say something

    1 vote
  12. Amarok
    Link
    Type 4 when I first started drinking, but now that only happens when I'm drinking heavily. More of a 1 when I'm just having a light nip (3 or less). Getting hammered doesn't have the appeal it...

    Type 4 when I first started drinking, but now that only happens when I'm drinking heavily. More of a 1 when I'm just having a light nip (3 or less). Getting hammered doesn't have the appeal it used to, once you get older the hangovers get real. Swapped out my love of craft beer for a love of good bourbon and that helped quite a bit with the hangovers. I don't drink anywhere near as much as I used to but my tolerance still seems to be the same as when I went out 2-3 nights a week.

    1 vote
  13. asoftbird
    Link
    Due to medicinal interactions l get pretty drunk from half a glass of beer. I've gotten mildly intoxicated from 7 alcohol free beers. Those still contain a little alcohol (like 0.04% which is...

    Due to medicinal interactions l get pretty drunk from half a glass of beer.
    I've gotten mildly intoxicated from 7 alcohol free beers. Those still contain a little alcohol (like 0.04% which is rounded to 0,0%) which apparently is enough to cause issues.

    I'd say l'm a type 1-2 when drunk as l don't change much, aside from having more trouble communicating.

    When l'm there l'm my own introverted self, it feels like the "interaction sphere of influence" shrinks, aka l need to get closer to people than normal to be able to interact. Filtering background noise becomes more difficult, and as a result l can't hear my own voice, so l don't notice l'm speaking too quietly.
    You could say alcohol makes me more autistic.

    1 vote
  14. balooga
    Link
    I suppose I'm type 2 but mainly I just get sleepy when I drink. I'm not typically drinking to the point of inebriation though, one or two drinks and I'm good. If I really feeling adventurous I'll...

    I suppose I'm type 2 but mainly I just get sleepy when I drink. I'm not typically drinking to the point of inebriation though, one or two drinks and I'm good. If I really feeling adventurous I'll have a third over the course of as many hours. Big proponent of moderation.

    1 vote
  15. box0rox
    Link
    Closest to 3, I'm afraid. I don't drink much anymore, either, no more than a couple of drinks, ever. I probably get much worse on Conscientiousness than Agreeableness, though. Some of my antics...

    Closest to 3, I'm afraid. I don't drink much anymore, either, no more than a couple of drinks, ever. I probably get much worse on Conscientiousness than Agreeableness, though. Some of my antics from binges have passed into folklore among my old friends. The problem is that it seems like I only lose forebrain activity, the rest of me is Type 1. I can almost always remember things afterward, but sometimes it'd better if I didn't...

    1 vote