New research suggests that being drunk and/or sleepy helps you be creative. Obviously, this is good news for beer runners.
Wired magazine recently ran an article citing studies that show people solved some problems better when in a sort of sleep- or alcohol-induced grogginess.
As I understand it, when in this state people thought more outside the box and were not distracted by thinking that may sidetrack their unconscious problem-solving capabilities.
At least that was my take. I was drinking and tired from a run when I skimmed the article. Maybe you should just read some direct quotes:
A brand-new study by scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago compared performance on insight puzzles between sober and drunk students. Once the students achieved “peak intoxication” the scientists gave them a battery of word problems that are often solved in a moment of insight.
According to the data, drunk students solved more of these word problems in less time. They also were much more likely to perceive their solutions as the result of a sudden insight. And the differences were dramatic: The alcohol made subjects nearly 30 percent more likely to find the unexpected solution.
The explanation for this effect returns us to the benefits of not being able to pay attention. The stupor of alcohol, like the haze of the early morning, makes it harder for us to ignore those unlikely thoughts and remote associations that are such important elements of the imagination.
Beer runners definitely know how to reach this state. Just run a bunch of miles, tire yourself out, then have a couple of beers afterward. You’re instantly more creative, or at least feel that way.
But if you’re into beer and running, you’ve already had this moment of insight.
Posted on Friday, February 10th, 2012