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Study: Drunk individuals don’t care about consequences of mistakes

| Jan 6, 2012 | DUI |

When it comes to defending DUI charges in Georgia, attorneys will investigate the circumstances of a traffic stop as well as any evidence that may have illegally been obtained prior to an arrest. Although examining the evidence and facts is extremely important when defending DUI charges, making note of one’s reputation can also be beneficial.

An individual who has been charged for the first time with drunk driving with no criminal record may be able to convince a judge to reduce one’s penalties by explaining that he or she made a horrible mistake that will never happen again. After all, we are only human.

However, a recent study that analyzes the effects of alcohol suggests that even though some individuals may be fully aware that they are drunk, they may still choose to do things that they shouldn’t, despite knowing the harm it could cause to others.

The study was conducted by psychologists at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Based on the results of the study, researchers are suggesting that although individuals claim that alcohol can cause them to lose control over what they say and do, they may actually have more control over their actions than what they let on. The study claims that drunk people oftentimes know that they are making mistakes, but they don’t care what happens when they do make mistakes.

The researchers utilized test subjects who were both non-students and students, with ages ranging from 21 to 35. Sixty-seven subjects were divided into three groups, one third of whom were given placebo drinks without knowledge of whether or not they were consuming alcohol, while one third were given known non-alcoholic drinks. The final group received alcoholic drinks sufficient to bring their blood alcohol levels to just under the legal limit of 0.08.

The researchers then conducted computerized tests on the subjects’, analyzing brain activity, changes in mood and the subjects’ abilities to accurately complete the computerized tests.

Those drinking non-alcoholic beverages would try to correct their errors during the tests, but researchers said that those who consumed alcohol tended to ignore their errors or simply move past them. Those consuming alcohol also tended to repeat the same mistakes rather than learning from experience, researchers noted. Interviews with test subjects also confirmed a difference in attitudes between participates in the different groups, suggesting that those who drank alcohol did not care when they made mistakes during the test.

Although the study indicates that people know that they are making reckless decisions when they are drunk, the study only examined the thought patterns and behaviors of those who were taking a computerized test. In real-life situations, people may make honest mistakes without realizing that they could be breaking the law or putting others in danger.

Source: Post-Dispatch, “Drunks aware but don’t care, study shows,” Harry Jackson Jr., Dec. 30, 2011