Does Beer Make You More Creative?

There may be scientific proof why the ad executives on “Mad Men” had a tipple or two during the work day—a beer buzz may boost creative juices. Austrian researchers from the University of Graz discovered that people with “mild alcohol intoxication” have the ability to improve their cognitive and creative juices. But it only works if you have a buzz, not if you’re falling-down drunk, reports the New York Daily News.

The study, “Creativity on tap? Effects of alcohol intoxication on creative cognition,” was published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition and examined 70 individuals who consumed either beer or non-alcoholic beer. The beer drinkers were slightly inebriated and registered near a level of 0.03 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Those who drive with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher in Canada are considered criminal offenders.

After consuming the beer or the placebo, study participants completed various tasks. One involved figuring out the word that connected the following words: Swiss, blue, and cake. The answer was “cheese,” and beer drinkers had an easier time determining the right answer. The tipsy volunteers also had an advantage in other tests, such as inventing creative uses for everyday objects.

Basically, people who throw back a drink appear to have an easier time “loosening” up versus fixating on a problem. The study’s lead author, Mathia Benedek, explained: “When initial solution attempts get on the wrong track, this can cause blocks to immediate problem solving, which is known as mental fixation…Alcohol may reduce fixation effects by loosening the focus of attention.”

He added, “Consumption of a low dose of alcohol tended to impair executive control, but facilitated creative problem solving (viz. insight problem solving), and did not affect divergent thinking ability.”

It isn’t the first study that demonstrates the positive effects of alcohol consumption on creativity. However, that doesn’t mean people should take a shot of whisky if they’re struggling with a creative project.

Benedek noted, “The findings should not be overgeneralized by assuming that creativity is generally supported by alcohol. Beneficial effects are likely restricted to very modest amounts of alcohol, whereas excessive alcohol consumption typically impairs creative productivity.”

It isn’t the first study that demonstrates the positive effects of alcohol consumption on creativity. However, that doesn’t mean people should take a shot of

whisky

if they’re struggling with a creative project.

Benedek noted, “The findings should not be overgeneralized by assuming that creativity is generally supported by alcohol. Beneficial effects are likely restricted to very modest amounts of alcohol, whereas excessive alcohol consumption typically impairs creative productivity.”

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