Many people aren’t the same when they drink. For some, that’s actually the draw. And of course, who doesn’t have a wild story or two that didn’t start with a few drinks? But have you ever stopped to consider you can count on one hand the different classifications of drunks we all fit into? And what if we told you those categories are now scientifically determined?
Researchers at the University of Missouri published a study titled “Searching for Mr. Hyde: A five-factor approach to characterizing ‘types of drunks.’” The addiction research and theory department at the university studied the behavior of 347 undergraduate students while drinking and concluded there are four different types of drunks, giving them pop culture influenced titles that are now scientifically backed. “Some individuals ‘‘change’’ more dramatically than others when intoxicated, and the nature and magnitude of these changes can result in harmful outcomes,” the study says. “According to anecdotal reports, clinical lore and internet articles like ‘‘The 12 types of drunk people you’ll encounter at a bar,’’ ‘‘The 7 kinds of drunk people you’ll find at parties,’’ and ‘‘The 9 types of drunk people (and which one you may be!),’’ not all drinkers act the same when intoxicated. However, we have not been able to identify even a single empirical study designed to identify a ‘types of drunks.’’’
Researchers used a 50-item scale to measure the levels of subjects’ drunkenness as well as their personality changes (or lack of) when drinking. It turns out around 40% of us all fit into the same category: “Ernest Hemingways,” named after one of the most famous drinkers of us all.
Ironically enough, Hemingways are the types of drinkers whose personalities actually don’t change very significantly with alcohol, “ defined by intoxication-related decreases in Conscientiousness and Intellect that were below average.”
Meanwhile, ’‘Mary Poppins’’ was defined by being high in Agreeableness when sober, decreasing less than average in Conscientiousness and Intellect and increasing more than average in Extraversion when drunk. Essentially, Mary Poppins is the happy, sociable drunk.
“Mr. Hyde” was probably the scariest and least desirable of all the drinkers, named after the fictional character with the sinister alter personality of Dr. Jekyll. As the name suggests, Mr. Hyde is a darker version of themselves when drinking. The findings in the study reported larger drunk decreases in Conscientiousness and Intellect and smaller increases in Extraversion.
And finally, “The Nutty Professor,” the main character of two Disney films who is chemically transformed into a more extroverted character, was defined by being particularly low in Extraversion when sober but having a relatively large increase in Extraversion while drunk. The Nutty Professor comes out of his shell after a few drinks — using alcohol as a social lubricant — which is something we can all relate to on some level.
While we all can probably relate to a characteristic or two of many of these drinkers, you now know there’s a scientific classification with a pop culture name that can summarize who and what you are after a few drinks.