How Alcohol Inspires Creativity
What’s the Latest Development?
In a study of 40 young men, scientists found that those given vodka cranberry drinks performed better on a standard creativity test than those who stayed sober. Published in Consciousness and Cognition, the research looked at alcohol’s influence on people’s creativity as measured by the ‘Remote Associates Test’, a word association game. Drinkers “correctly solved 58% of the problems, compared with 42% for the sober group, and they came up with the right answers nearly four seconds faster on each question. Being drunk improved performance by about 30%.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Science continues to confirm that altered states of consciousness, whether induced by alcohol, drugs, sleepiness or travel, improve our capacity for creative thought. When we remove ourselves from our usual way of seeing the world, we inhibit what is called ‘executive functioning’ in our brain, processes that involve focus and planning. While executive functioning can keep us focused on the task at hand, it can also inhibit our capacity for finding innovative solutions. Scientists remind us, however, that creativity is excited by getting tipsy, not drunk.
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