CBS Local — According to a new study in Austria, a little beer may help trigger your inner genius. Researchers at the University of Graz say that a mild alcohol intoxication can help clear mental blocks and spark creative thought.
The study looked at 70 volunteers between the ages of 19 and 32; giving them both alcohol-free and regular beer before taking a series of tests. The volunteers reportedly performed better on a word problem test after drinking a pint of beer than they did having alcohol-free drinks. Researchers say concentration and memory issues did surface for the drinkers in other skill tests though.
“While many activities usually benefit from high cognitive control, some may actually suffer from too much focus,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Mathias Benedek. “Alcohol may reduce fixation effects by loosening the focus of attention. Thereby, alcohol may facilitate a broader associative search and the effective solving of creative tasks that are prone to fixation effects,” Dr. Benedek added.
The scientists noted that drinking more than a pint of beer may negatively affect the drinker’s creativity. Benedek cautioned, “Beneficial effects are likely restricted to very modest amounts of alcohol, whereas excessive alcohol consumption typically impairs creative productivity.”