Can a drink help you think?

Knocking back a beer at work might make you think more strategically, according to a recent University of Illinois study that tested the effects of alcohol on problem-solving.

"Being mildly drunk facilitates a divergent, diffuse mode of thought, which is useful for such tasks where the answer requires thinking on a tangent," said the BPS Research Digest.

The researchers observed 40 men between the ages of 21 and 30. Half of them drank enough vodka to achieve a blood alcohol content of 0.7 (the equivalent of 2 pints of beer for an average-sized man), and the other half refrained from alcohol consumption.

The men who drank the vodka performed better than those who didn't on a standard "Remote Associates Test," in which participants are shown a set of words and asked to identify a word that's related.

"We think being too focused can blind you to novel possibilities, and a broader, more diffuse or more flexible attentional state may be needed for creative solutions to emerge," said Jenny Wiley, one of the authors of the study.

However the test only looked at what happened when people were mildly buzzed.

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