Need a creative boost? Have a shot of vodka.
A new study from researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago found slightly inebriated men solved more problems requiring verbal resourcefulness in less time than did their sober counterparts.
For the study, 20 male social drinkers watched a movie while drinking a vodka and cranberry juice cocktail, a Cape Cod, and eating a light snack, while another 20 volunteers watched the movie without food or beverages.
During the process, researchers ensured the blood alcohol level of the drinking group didn’t exceed 0.075 percent, which is just below the common cutoff for legal intoxication in the U.S.
Both groups were then asked to solve 15 sets of creative word-association problems in which they had to provide a fourth word for the three associated words provided.
Each group of guys performed similarly on the test before the experiment. But afterward, the sober men took an average of 15.2 seconds to solve each word puzzle; while the men who had reached peak intoxication took only 11.5 seconds on average. In addition, the “drunken” group got three more questions right than the sober group.
Researchers said it’s possible that a moderate buzz can loosen a man’s attention-focus, aiding the ability to find connections among remotely related ideas. The study’s co-authors, psychology graduate student Andrew Jarosz and psychologist Jennifer Wiley, indicated their findings could even apply to musical and artistic inspiration, saying in their report, “A composer or artist fixated on previous work may indeed find creative benefits from intoxication.”
The study was published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition.