Wed, 11 Apr 2012 08:29:16 GMT

Alcohol ''sharpens mind''

London, Apr 11 (PTI) Here''s the perfect reason to go for a tipple tonight -- alcohol sharpens the mind, says a study.

Researchers at the University of Illinois have found that men who enjoy two pints of beer or two medium glasses of wine are better and quick at solving brain teasers than those who are stone cold sober, the ''Daily Mail'' reported.

This is because alcohol hinders analytical thinking, allowing creative thoughts that otherwise might be stifled to take root. This makes it easier to find imaginative solutions to problems, according to the researchers.

For their study, the researchers set 40 healthy young men a series of brain teasers. They involved being given three words, such as coin, quick and spoon, and coming up with a fourth word that links the three -- in this case, silver.

Half the group drank the equivalent of two pints of beer before doing the tests, while the rest carried them out sober.
The drinking group solved nearly 40 per cent more problems than others, and took an average of 12 seconds compared to the 15.5 seconds needed by sober subjects.

"The current research represents the first demonstration of alcohol''s effect on creative problem solving," according to the researchers.

The study''s co-author Jennifer Wiley added: "We tested what happens when people are slightly merry -- not when people drink to extremes.

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."
The findings are published in the ''Consciousness and Cognition'' journal.

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