Wine glasses can deliver a little eau de vie to shy partygoers

If you think that emptying a couple of wine glasses is the best way to cast off your shyness at a cocktail party, you may only be partly correct.

You might actually want to slow down a little and enjoy the fine wine in your glass - as it's unlikely that the alcohol alone is responsible for getting you involved in the conversation.

Researchers at the Victoria University of Wellington and Harvard Medical School have been looking into the power of suggestion, and their findings are likely to be of interest to particularly shy partygoers.

For although, with a couple of empty wine glasses by your side, you might feel better equipped to strike up a conversation with the person next to you, it might actually be your expectation of that effect that causes it to come true.

"If a normally shy person expects that a glass of wine or two will help him loosen up at a cocktail party, he will probably feel less inhibited, approach more people, and get involved in more conversations over the course of the party," the Association for Psychological Science reports.

"Even though he may give credit to the wine, it is clear that his expectations of how the wine would make him feel played a major role."

So, the next time you take a bottle of fine wine to a house party, take a moment to savour the flavour - and then set aside your shyness and get mingling.