If you've been looking for an excuse to drink all morning, I just found you one: according to a recent study, drinking vodka improves word association and verbal creativity. Somebody pass the bottle.
Science News reports that people who are intoxicated, though not legally drunk, have more intuitive insights into difficult word-association problems. The research, carried out at the University of Illinois at Chicago and appearing in Consciousness and Cognition, shows that sober individuals take a more deliberative approach to word association, which slows them down.
In the study, half the participants were fed vodka until just below the current 0.08 per cent blood alcohol cutoff for legal intoxication in the United States, and half drank nothing. They were all then shown a series of three-word puzzles, and asked to find a word that linked the three words on each occasion. On average, intoxicated participants responded in 11.5 seconds, while the sober ones took 15.4 seconds.
It lends weight to the idea that artists and musicians are more creative when they've indulged. In fact, Jennifer Wiley, one of the researchers, agrees: "A composer or artist fixated on previous work may indeed find creative benefits from intoxication." So, it might not help with everything, but I'm sure as hell going to try and loosen up my blogging by giving it a shot. [Consciousness and Cognition via Science News]