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Are You a Mean Drunk?

If you are, it's not excuse--you're mean when sober too. Drinking enough alcohol to become intoxicated increases aggression significantly in people who lack one particular personality trait.. But people with that trait are just as aggressive when they're sober as they are when drunk. And that trait is? The inability to consider the future consequences of current actions.

Psychologist Brad Bushman says, "People who focus on the here and now, without thinking about the impact on the future, are more aggressive than others when they are sober, but the effect is magnified greatly when they're drunk. If you carefully consider the consequences of your actions, it is unlikely getting drunk is going to make you any more aggressive than you usually are.

"Alcohol has a myopic effect--it narrows your attention to what is important to you right now. That may be dangerous to someone who already has that tendency to ignore the future consequences of their actions and who is placed in a hostile situation."

Studies show that men are more aggressive than women overall, but the effects of alcohol and personality were similar in both sexes. In other words, women who were present-focused were still much more aggressive when drunk than were women who were future-focused, just like men.

Bushman says the results should serve as a warning to people who live only in the moment without thinking too much about the future. "If you're that kind of person, you really should watch your drinking. Combining alcohol with a focus on the present can be a recipe for disaster."

What if you could not only THINK about the future, but had a time machine, hidden in a painting, that could take you there? This is the wonderful premise behind Whitley Strieber's novel "The Omega Point." It's no longer in stores, but you can still get it from the Whitley Strieber Collection, and it will come with an autographed bookplate designed by Whitley. And every book there is HALF OFF.

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