Does alcohol use improve creativity?

American scientists recently found that consumption of small amounts of alcohol increases a person’s resourcefulness when performing creative tasks related to verbal associations.

In a study conducted by research associates from the University of Illinois in Chicago, USA, 40 men took part who occasionally drink alcohol in the company of friends.

In preparation for the experiment, half of the volunteers were asked to eat a light meal while watching a cartoon, after which they had to drink an amount of cranberry juice with vodka, enough to reach the average blood alcohol concentration their 0.075% or 0.75 per thousand, slightly below the 0.8 per thousand level at which it is illegal to drive in the US.

For comparison, in Bulgaria the permissible alcohol concentration is 0.5 per mille or 0.05% in the total amount of blood. The remaining participants included in the control group simply watched the same movie.

After that, all the volunteers had to complete 15 creative tasks, which consisted of reading three words and choosing a fourth that formed a meaningful sentence with each of the proposed ones. For example, the words “sun”, “speech”, “dress” would definitely fit “light”.

Participants in the study who were “drunk” showed intuitive ingenuity when performing the tasks significantly more often than the sober, who were more reflective.

Specifically, the volunteers in the first group correctly completed an average of 9 tasks, while those in the second group correctly completed 6. Furthermore, the participants who had been drinking needed an average of 11.5 seconds, and the sober ones – 15.2 seconds.

Study authors Andrew Yarosh and Jennifer Wiley suggest that this effect of alcohol is related to its ability to lower attentional concentration, which makes it easier to discover connections between distant, other concepts and ideas .

Scientists also believe that the obtained results may explain the propensity to alcohol use by artists, musicians and other creative people.

Commenting on the scientific work of the researchers, the psychologist from the University of Missouri, USA, noted that partly the observed effects of alcohol can also be explained by lowering the fear of possible mistakes, and also impairs spontaneous recall of sequences of sounds and images, without affecting working memory.

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