Creative Thinking and Drinking and Why it Works

I would like to buy a round of drinks for the researchers of a recent Consciousness and Cognition publication, Uncorking the muse: Alcohol intoxication facilitates creative problem solving.

Though the cultural association between creativity and booze is long and storied, science had yet to make a formal connection, at least according to my research (which, admittedly, consisted of little more than Googling mid-Chimay ??god bless you Google Goggles).

Creativity by the Glass

The authors, Andrew F. Jarosz, ?Gregory J.H. Colflesh and Jennifer Wiley, conducted a study of ?40 young men, ages 21?30 they recruited from Craiglist (where else?) and found that those who imbibed vodka cranberry drinks outperformed their sober contemporaries on a standard creativity test.

Though the choice of drink is suspect, the method was sound and the results revealing. The research examined alcohol’s influence on participant’s creativity on a word association game and found that those on the sauce enjoyed a 30 percent boost in performance. Or as Orion Jones wrote at Big Think:

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.

Is it time to pull a cork and let your genius out of the bottle? Writes Jones, ?Scientists remind us, however, that creativity is excited by getting tipsy, not drunk.?

Yes, somehow, ?Tipsy Poet? just doesn’t have the same ring as ?Drunken Poet? though somehow I don’t think Li Bai would mind.