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Alcohol ‘Sharpens Men's Minds' Claim Scientists

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Scientists have found a novel use for beer goggles – they make men brainier.

According to researchers from the University of Illinois in Chicago, men who enjoy a tipple (or two) are better at solving brain-teasing quizzes and coming up with imaginative solutions to problems, compared to their sober counterparts.

Although this theory goes against popular belief that alcohol hinders analytical thinking and stifles rational thoughts, scientists discovered that creative thoughts begin to flourish after four units are consumed (the equivalent of two pints of beer).

The study involved 40 healthy male participants who were given a series of brain-teasers to tackle. Each were given three words, such as ‘coin’, ‘quick’ and ‘spoon’ and asked to suggest a fourth word that link the words together (for example, ‘silver’).

Half of the participants drank two pints of beer before taking on the word challenge and the rest took part with a sober mind.

The study discovered that those who consumed alcohol and had a blood alcohol level of 0.07 or higher, solved 40% more problems than their teetotal contenders and took 12 seconds to complete the task compared to 15.5 seconds by the sober lot.

“We found at 0.07 blood alcohol, people were worse at working memory tasks, but they were better at creative problem-solving tasks,” says cognitive psychologist Jennifer Wiley, who led the study, reports the Federation of Associations in Behavioural and Brain Sciences (FABBS).

“We have this assumption, that being able to focus on one part of a problem or having a lot of expertise is better for problem solving,” says Wiley. “But that’s not necessarily true. Innovation may happen when people are not so focused. Sometimes it’s good to be distracted.”

Sometimes the really creative stuff comes out when you’re having a glass of wine over dinner, or when you’re taking a shower.”

The findings were published in the Consciousness and Cognition journal.

This study follows previous research by Purdue University which found that red wine is good for the heart as it blocks fat cells from forming.

But before you order another round, find out whether another glass of red is a friend... or foe.

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