A new study led by University of Pittsburgh researchers reveals that moderate amounts of alcohol–consumed in a social setting–can enhance positive emotions and social bonding and relieve negative emotions among those drinking.

Results showed that alcohol not only increased the frequency of ”true” smiles, but also enhanced the coordination of these smiles. In other words, alcohol enhanced the likelihood of ”golden moments,” with groups provided alcohol being more likely than those offered nonalcoholic beverages to have all three group members smile simultaneously. Participants in alcohol-drinking groups also likely reported greater social bonding than did the nonalcohol-drinking groups and were more likely to have all three members stay involved in the discussion.

Study reveals moderate doses of alcohol increase social bonding in groups