If you’re feeling a bit sluggish in the mental department maybe you should sit back, relax and have a pint of your favourite beer. Why? Well researchers have discovered that alcohol has a hidden talent – it can actually make you smarter.
The Irish Independent reports that men who drink two pints of beer before they tackle a brain teaser will actually perform better and achieve a higher success rate than sober men who have attempted the same puzzles.
Ever wonder why pub quizzes are often won by the drunkest table in the place? Well that’s because after two drinks, your intellectual skills are sharpened. The researchers also found that drinkers tended to get more questions right and were quicker when it came to shouting out the right answers.
Now, wait a second, we know what you’re thinking – isn’t alcohol supposed to hinder your mental capabilities? Isn’t it supposed to dumb all your logical reasoning abilities? Well yes and no. The trick is knowing when you’ve had enough.
A small bit of alcohol (say 2 pints) is enough to up your brain power and also keep you aware of what’s going on in your life. A lot of alcohol is likely to see you devolve from smart, sophisticated male to Neanderthal in the space of ten minutes. And no one wants that.
Anyway, psychologists at the University of Illinois rounded up 40 young fellas and gave them a series of brain teasers to work on. The teasers involved coming up with a common word that would link three other words listed out. For example: silver is the common word that links coin, quick and spoon. Yes, it was deeply intelligent stuff that was going on during these tests…
The lucky half of the group got to drink two pints of beer before sitting down to do the puzzles, while the other half remained sober.
Needless to say, researchers were pretty shocked when the group that had been given alcohol managed to solve nearly 40 per cent more of the problems than their sober counterparts. The men who had drank some alcohol also only spent an average of 12 seconds on each brain teaser – in comparison to the 15.5 seconds that the sober subjects needed to work out the solution to every puzzle.
“We tested what happens when people are slightly merry, not when people drink to extremes,” said Jennifer Wiley, the author of the report.
“The bottom line is that we think being too focused can blind you to novel possibilities, and a broader, more flexible state of attention is needed for creative solutions to emerge,” she added.
The research has been published in the well-respected journal Consciousness and Cognition, so the next time your other half accuses you of drinking one too many, simply shove a copy of said research at them and consider that your point has been made.