Thursday, April 12, 2012

Beer Makes you Smarter

Drink beer and one day you too could be president!

Got a problem to solve? Have a beer! According to the NY Daily News, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have found that: with a couple beers under their belts were actually better at solving brain-teasers than their sober counterparts.

To reach that surprising conclusion, the researchers devised a bar game in which 40 men were given three words and told to come up with a fourth that fits the pattern.

For example, the word “cheese” could fit with words like “blue” or “cottage” or “Swiss.”

Half the players were given two pints. The other half got nothing.

The result? Those who imbibed solved 40% more of the problems that their sober counterparts.

Also, the drinkers finished their problems in 12 seconds while it took the non-drinkers 15.5 seconds.

“We found at 0.07 blood alcohol, people were worse at working memory tasks, but they were better at creative problem-solving tasks,” psychologist Jennifer Wiley reported on the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS) site.

Wiley conceded that her findings run counter to popular belief that alcohol hinders analytical thinking and muddies the mind.

“We have this assumption, that being able to focus on one part of a problem or having a lot of expertise is better for problem solving,” says Wiley. “But that’s not necessarily true. Innovation may happen when people are not so focused. Sometimes it’s good to be distracted.”

And so there you have it.


Jeff Alworth said...

I'm not surprised. (Okay I am.) But this does conform to an observation I've made that my pool-playing improves after a beer or two. Problem is, there's a moment when it's the ideal ratio of loose:impaired that doesn't last. If you stop drinking, the somnolence kicks in; if you keep drinking, the drunkenness sets in.

In other words, drinking is a poor strategy if you need sustain performance.

In future surveys, they should test non-drinkers to drinkers who consume a beer every half hour and chart the progress.

Brian Yaeger said...

See: Cliff Clavin's Buffalo Theory