It’s an evolutionary trait that people like to put themselves in a position of rank. We constantly compare ourselves to those around us. It’s a natural tendency.

Scientists recently conducted a study that indicates people even judge their own level of intoxication in this manner. They look at how other people around them are doing and base their own level of drunkenness on their “rank” in that social order.

Simply put, if someone was very drunk at a party with a dozen people who were all passing out from drinking too much, that person would think he or she was fairly sober. Compared to those people, it may be true.

However, if someone was just slightly tipsy and was then forced into a room full of sober people, that person would be very conscious of feeling drunk and may even feel far more drunk than he or she was. In other words, if you had a few drinks at home with friends, you may still feel sober. If you had a few drinks and then went to work or to class, you’d feel drunk.

This ranking gets deceptive when people who are well over the legal limit believe that they’re sober. You may decide you’ll be fine to drive when everyone around you is quite drunk, even though you’re technically over the legal limit yourself. You’re not as sober as you thought. Scientists say that your brain, based on this evolutionary development, simply tricked you.

If this does happen and you’re facing DUI charges, make sure you know all of the legal options you have. This is nothing to take lightly.