We've discovered why you think you are in love after a drunken hook up, but you never hear from your man again, and it's all thanks to science … and a few tipsy prairie voles.
A study was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Journal examining the effect of alcohol on brain systems involved in social bonding in female and male prairie voles. They conducted the experiment by pairing up female and male voles and giving them access to tubes containing either an ethanol and water mixture or plain water. After 24 hours, the paired prairie voles were separated and moved to different cages. They were then tested for their "preference" for either their drinking mate or an unknown vole.
Low and behold, they found that as compared to the voles who only drank water, the alcohol made the females more likely to pair bond with their drinking partner. On the other hand, alcohol made the males less likely to bond with their original partner.
The researchers said that, "These findings allow us to understand the factors involved in regulations of social behaviors, and the effects of alcohol on them, better. Identification of these factors can help develop better ways to prevent or teat the devastating effects of alcohol abuse on social relationships."
Prairie voles are often studied for their neurochemistry, very similar to ours when it comes to falling in love and forming pair bonds. Voles are known to mate for life, one of the few creatures in the animal kingdom to do so besides humans.
So … what does this mean for our relationships? The research simply reiterates previous findings that suggest that alcohol has negative effects on long-term attachments and marital happiness in humans due to the fact that males are less likely to pair bond when drinking.
Moral of the story? Ladies, if you want to be in a relationship, don't let your partner get too smashed during your dates.