Photo: flickr/super awesome
To the delight of grad students everywhere, this study has proven what we suspected all along: drinking alcohol can help us creatively solve problems. To test this, the authors gave the participants some bagels and a couple of vodka-and-cranberries, and then had them solve puzzles (sounds like an awesome date-night in my house). The results? Study participants were better at solving the puzzles after the cocktails. So next time you feel stuck on a problem, go ahead -- have a cocktail!
Uncorking the muse: alcohol intoxication facilitates creative problem solving. "That alcohol provides a benefit to creative processes has long been assumed by popular culture, but to date has not been tested. The current experiment tested the effects of moderate alcohol intoxication on a common creative problem solving task, the Remote Associates Test (RAT). Individuals were brought to a blood alcohol content of approximately .075, and, after reaching peak intoxication, completed a battery of RAT items. Intoxicated individuals solved more RAT items, in less time, and were more likely to perceive their solutions as the result of a sudden insight. Results are interpreted from an attentional control perspective." Bonus quote from the materials and methods: "Upon arrival, weight, an initial breathalyzer reading, and consent were obtained, and participants ate a weight-adjusted snack of bagels (Sayette et al., 1994). After the meal, participants completed the first OSpan task, then received a vodka cranberry drink. The dose of alcohol (100-proof Smirnoff vodka) was calibrated by weight (.88 g/kg body weight), and was mixed in front of the participant at a 1:3 vodka to cranberry juice ratio."
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