Page last updated: June 7, 2012
Alcohol consumption may help creativity

A University of Illinois study found that a test group where participants had drunk the equivalent of two pints each were faster at making abstract links between words than another group, which remained completely sober.
Psychologists at the University of Illinois set 40 healthy young men a series of brain teasers. They involved being given three words, such as coin, quick and spoon, and coming up with a fourth word that links the three - in this case, silver.
Half the group drank the equivalent of two pints of beer before doing the tests, while the rest carried them out sober. The group that was drinking solved nearly 40% more problems than the sober group and did so an average 3.5 seconds faster as well.
It is thought that alcohol stifles analytical thinking, allowing more creative thought processes to occur.
The report’s co-author, Jennifer Wiley, stressed that drinking any further would naturally lead to detrimental effects but added: “The bottom line is that we think being too focused can blind you to novel possibilities and a broader, more flexible state of attention is needed for creative solutions to emerge.”
It is thought alcohol hinders analytical thinking and allows ‘creative’ thoughts that might otherwise by stifled to take root, allowing test subjects to come up with more imaginative solutions.
Source: Uncorking the muse: Alcohol intoxication facilitates creative problem solving, Andrew F. Jarosz, Gregory J.H. Colflesh, Jennifer Wiley. litd.psch.uic.edu/personal/jwiley/drunk.pdf

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