No, you weren’t mistaken in the reading of this article’s title – if you need some creative inspiration, try beer!
Neuroscience has been seeing quite some advancement in the recent years, and with that, great discovery. One of which, is the discovery that when the brain is taken out of its usual state of consciousness, it removes us from the typical way we see things – thereby, allowing us to see things in a more creative light. When we say ”out of the usual state,” this can relate to anything – sleep deprivation, drugs, shrooms, and yes, alcohol. In fact, some of the great musical pieces that have become quite popular today were created under the creative influence of narcotics.
However, it’s been all hypotheses until recently.
In a study published in Consciousness and Cognition, an experiment was conducted measuring the ability of people to associate 3 seemingly disparate words. The word-association exercise involved identifying one word that could correlate with all three. An example of the three words would be t-shirt, chair, and bear – to which the participants had to come up with a word that had something to do with all three.
In the experiment, 80 participants were invited to take part in these exercises. 40 of them were the group that would have been under the influence of alcohol, whilst the other 40 would be the sober participants who probably didn’t have as much fun as their drunker counterparts.
What happened next surprised the researchers. Apparently, those who were a little intoxicated were able to solve more questions correctly in the test, and were able to do so much more quickly. Whereas the sober participants solved 42% of all the problems correctly, those under the influence had a higher 58% rate of being correct.
These drunk men were able to make some connections that the sober people simply did not even think about.
Sometimes, maybe a reduced ability to control attention creates positive implications in promoting creativity. This not only happens with alcohol, but also presumably, with sleep deprivation and drugs.
The findings have large implications for further research on the topic, and might just be the stepping stone needed to fully understand creativity – which until now, is still not completely understood.
However, as stated in the first paragraph, if you’re stuck on solving a problem, and can’t seem to piece it all together, try again after having a beer – or four.