Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Proven: Drinking Vodka is Good for Your Creativity. Martinis All Around!

MartiniIt’s no secret I like a vodka martini. It’s my drink of choice when the Husband of Awesome™ offers to mix up a cocktail or two.

But now the word is out that drinking is actually good for your creativity.

In a study (called “Uncorking the Muse”) published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition it’s revealed that drinking a moderate amount of vodka can make you more creative.

“Moderate” in this case is just below the legal limit in the U.S. Participants were “cut off” once their blood alcohol level reached 0.075 percent.

How was creativity tested in the study?

Via a word association test.

The drinkers were given a vodka cranberry. The sober men were not. Both groups sat through a cartoon movie, waiting for the alcohol to work its way into the bloodstream of the potential creatives. After the movie, both groups were administered the test.

According to the article, “the men were presented with three words (“peach, arm, and tar,” for example) and then asked to come up with a fourth word that formed a phrase with each example (“pit”).”

The results?
On average, sober men took 15.4 seconds to come up with the correct response. The men who drank vodka, on the other hand, only needed 11.5 seconds.

You’re all invited for martinis at my house tonight! Bring your laptop.

Read the full story on line at The Week.

12 comments to Proven: Drinking Vodka is Good for Your Creativity. Martinis All Around!

  • Melinda Bennington

    Further research is indicated! And perhaps it should include the following:

  • LOL! This is great. I’m actually not surprised, if you consider that alcohol is known to lower inhibitions. Makes sense that it would also lower mental inhibitions such as self-doubt and self-criticism–oh and self-control! 🙂 I wonder why they chose to test only vodka, though. Seems like it would apply to any alcohol.

    • Hi Ally! I wasn’t surprised either, just for the reasons you suggest (but it’s nice to know it’s now a given!) 🙂 You’ve got me curious about the vodka thing. I’m going to see if I can lay my hands on the full report…

  • Melinda Bennington

    Oops – first response didn’t go through! I replied:

    Great topic! I wonder about the research. For example, was the sample random, or, as it appears, gender-limited? Did vodka without cranberry have the same effect? What about olives, grapefruit juice, oj? And why was the study limited to vodka? As a writer and sailor,I might suggest that rum drinks should have been included in the study. Hemingway may have requested a Cuba Libre or Mojito, and Fitzgerald, gin.

    It’s clear to me that you’re on the right track. Further research is definitely warranted! I’m thinking women must be included. And more variety in the drinks tested. So, what grant funded this project, anyway? Any grant writers out there? 🙂

  • Interesting, though I wonder if the word-choice test really indicates creativity. That is, it’s a search that has one correct answer but is not creativity the ability to find “other” answers? The exotic, not the mundane. On the other hand, if it just dulls inhibition — makes you find the first answer that seems to work and blurt it out fast — perhaps it does help get creativity started, but still is not the truly creative response likely to be the _second_ answer (whatever it may be)?

    • Hi James! Thanks for stopping by.

      I do agree with your assessment about whether word choice indicates creativity. (I also wonder if they gave the gentlemen any kind of SAT-like aptitude test for vocabulary to make certain of a level playing field.

  • Oh no, I’m going to have to found teetotalers for gender equality in creativity studies now to combat the inherent biases of this study!!! 😛

    You know that interview question “if you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?” I’ve found my answer – the guy who gets paid to do things like play word games with drunk people! There are people in the world who get paid to do this??? How awesome is that?! I totally bet they have a lot of funny stories they could turn into a book, too. 🙂

    • Hi Terri

      LOL! I would definitely read that book.

      Someone on one of my lists gets paid to go drinking and then rate the bar. It’s a “secret shoppers” type job out in LA. (I say, sign me up!)

  • May I say that I am not a big fan of Hemingway, but I do concur with one piece of advice attributed to him: Write drunk; edit sober. I doubt you’d need much research to infer that suppression of inhibition would ratchet up the flow of inspired output, the good and the bad. But maximum cognitive skills are needed to go back through the mess and sort the gems from the junk.

    But as for the scientific validity of this particular test, well, maybe. I wouldn’t start the party yet.

    • Hi Justine!

      I’m not a Hemingway fan either, although I’ve been known to read his stuff in a pinch. I’ve never heard his quote about writing drunk and editing sober. Makes perfect sense to me, just for the reasons you’ve stated. I might have to print that up and hang it by the computer.

      Yeah…the study leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s fun to think about. (And a good excuse for me to ask the Husband of Awesome™ to make me a martini!)

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