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Innovation Insights by Stephen Shapiro

Today’s Friday Fun Fact…

In previous posts, I have shared a variety of activities that I engage in to still my mind and foster more creative thinking.  These include activities like walking on the beach, meditating or sitting in the hot tub.

Andrew Jarosz for the University of Illinois shares another way… drinking alcohol.

In his recent study, Jarosz found that a moderate level of alcohol “loosens a person’s focus of attention, making it easier to find connections among remotely related ideas.”

The study included 40 men, all of whom were social drinkers. 20 of the participants consumed alcoholic beverages until they achieved “an average peak blood alcohol level of 0.075 percent, just below the current 0.08 percent cutoff for legal intoxication in the United States.”  The remaining 20 participants abstained.

Men in both groups then completed a creative problem-solving task.

Compared to the sober group, the “tipsy” men solved their problems faster and were more likely to have sudden insights. Those that had been drinking solved about 9 problems correctly versus only 6 for the sober group.

Additionally, “it took an average of 11.5 seconds for the intoxicated men to generate a correct solution, compared with 15.2 seconds for sober men. The groups performed comparably on the test before the study began.”

Researchers say that it is likely the alcohol makes a person more relaxed and therefore, their brain is able to take in the bigger picture faster.

While I enjoy a glass of wine from time to time, I am neither condoning nor condemning the consumption of alcohol. However, this study provides one more data point confirming that a quiet mind is a creative mind.  How to achieve that – is solely up to you.

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