That’s the gist of a new paper in published in Neuropsychopharmacology (that’s the study of how drugs affect the mind and neuroscience). Scientists spayed a mere half ounce of beer into the mouths of their study participants (49 adult men), and then tracked changes in their brain chemistry with a positron emission topography scanner, which gives measurements on different molecules in the brain.
Within minutes of tasting the beer, dopamine levels in the men’s brain rose significantly.
Interestingly, men whose families had a history of alcoholism showed higher level of dopamine than other participants, even men who self-identified as heavy drinkers but had no history of alcoholism.
Less surprisingly, men who tasted beer reported a higher level of craving more beer than men in the control group.
Scientists aren’t sure that merely reading about beer will having the same effect, but we bet it might.