Scientists Decide There Are 4 Kinds of Drunks

Are you an Ernest Hemingway drunk or a Mary Poppins drunk?
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2015 9:10 AM CDT
Scientists Decide There Are 4 Kinds of Drunks
In this undated file photo, Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews are shown in Walt Disney's musical-fantasy "Mary Poppins."   (AP Photo, File)

If you can "drink hells any amount of whiskey without getting drunk," you're an Ernest Hemingway drunk—and you're in good company. That's the finding of University of Missouri researchers who broke down the types of drunks into four distinct categories in a study published in the Addiction Research & Theory journal. Scientists surveyed 187 pairs of undergraduate "drinking buddies" from a Midwestern university about their sober and intoxicated states. The findings: the subjects were either a Hemingway, Mary Poppins, Nutty Professor, or Mr. Hyde drunk. The largest group: the Hemingways, which represented about 42% of the subjects. These subjects reported experiencing the smallest decrease in organizational and intellectual skills and are "drinkers who tend not to undergo drastic character changes or experience harms" (meaning you probably won't have to worry about getting kicked out of a bar if you're a Hemingway).

Per the Guardian, about 23% could be called Mr. Hyde—or Ms. Hyde, since more than half of the subjects who fell into this category were women—meaning they became "particularly less responsible, less intellectual, and more hostile when under the influence of alcohol." One-fifth earned the honor of being labeled the Nutty Professor, meaning they were more introverted before imbibing and became much more gregarious and uninhibited afterward. The Mary Poppinses, which made up about 15% of the pool, are "particularly agreeable" after drinking—in other words, the happy, "sweet" drunks who don't cause any trouble. So what was the point of the study, other than having names to attribute to friends while bar-hopping? The researchers say it could lead to customization of alcohol intervention programs based on personality type, Time notes. (It turns out one eye color is linked to alcoholism.)

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