Alcohol Can Distort Men’s Feelings of Empathy and Understanding of Irony

The chronic, heavy use of alcohol can reduce a man’s ability to feel empathy or understand irony.  A study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research looked at two groups of 22 men, one group was in their third week of an alcohol treatment program and the other 22 were not alcoholic. Both groups were given stories to read that ended in either a straightforward manner, or with an ironic sentence. They were then questioned on the story to see if they caught the ironic twists. The non-alcoholic group interpreted nine out of ten stories correctly, whereas the 22 in treatment for alcohol addiction gave correct answers for only about half of them.

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