London, May 5 : A new study from US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda, Maryland has shed light on what happens in the brain during intoxication, by discovering that booze dulls the brain's ability to detect threats.
The team of researchers led by Jodi Gilman conducted their study over 12 healthy "social drinkers"
They took MRI scans to examine the brain activity of the individuals, both when sober and after they had been given alcohol intravenously that increased their blood levels to nearly 0.8 grams of alcohol per 100 millilitres.
In both conditions they were shown pictures of either frightened or neutral faces.
The findings revealed that that alcohol influenced the way the brain reacted to the images.
Without alcohol, the amygdala - which is involved in processing emotional reactions - lit up in response to the frightened faces, but with alcohol, it was less active, reacting equally to neutral and fearful faces, reports New Scientist.
The reason why alcohol makes you loosen up and lash out is that it weakens the amygdala's ability to detect threats.
The researchers also found that alcohol stimulated reward circuits, such as the nucleus accumbens that gives rise to pleasurable feelings.