It is very common for us to believe alcohol makes us more creative. But, does it really? Is there any scientific proof? In this episode, Annie Grace explains the one thing alcohol does to make us think we’re more creative when we drink, and how we can find creativity without alcohol.
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What Does Science Say About Alcohol and Creativity?
A recent study from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that there is a sweet spot when it comes to drinking and creativity. The study found that participants with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.075 performed better on a creative task than their sober counterparts. Those that drank to levels above that under performed compared to both the slightly inebriated and the non-drinkers. While we haven’t seen a return to the trolley carts of the 50’s making a mass return to corporate America, drinking on the job – especially in creative and tech-based companies is on the rise. The idea is that alcohol impedes your ability to focus, not desirable if you’re the staff accountant, but when working with the marketing team it can be argued that alcohol – in the right amount – can lower your inhibition, relax the brain and make you more creative. The challenge and the problem lie in drinking the right amount.
Does Alcohol Make You More Creative?
Reaching a BAL of 0.075 isn’t as simple as handing everyone a beer or two and telling them that’s it. Blood alcohol content will vary for everyone depending on age, sex, food intake, muscle-to- fat ratio, amount of alcohol, gender, weight, and other factors. So drinking just enough to reach that sweet spot could be tricky and change for people day to day. You might also be tempted to keep drinking to reach that point – especially under a deadline. Drinking regularly can also make hitting that sweet spot a challenge. Creatives such as Edgar Allen Poe, Ernest Hemingway, Vincent Van Gogh to their more modern counterparts like Stephen King, Samuel Jackson and Robin Williams all found the danger of trying to find the elusive creative sweet spot with alcohol.
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