This is the best pre-St. Patrick’s Day news you could ask for. A new study from the University of Illinois Chicago suggests that drinking may actually aid your creativity and problem solving skills.

UIC researchers discovered that people who fall just under the legal limit of .08 outperformed their sober counterparts on word association problems. Here’s the experiment that associate professor of psychology and principal investigator Jennifer Wiley conducted along with colleagues:

“If you get a little tipsy, people are significantly better at finding weird, remote answers,” Wiley says.

“There is a common belief, when we are trying to think or solve problems, that it really helps us to focus on things. Well, sometimes too much focus might hurt us.”

Wiley and the study’s co-authors, graduate students Andrew Jarosz and Gregory Colflesh, gathered two groups of 20 male social drinkers. One set watched an animated movie while drinking and eating a snack; the other watched the movie without drinks or food.

A problem-solving exercise followed, with 15 word association tasks featuring groupings of three words. For every set, participants had to produce a fourth word that forms a phrase with each of words found in the trio.

Now, before you get hammered and try do to your taxes, keep in mind that the subjects were just under the legal limit. Still, it’s comforting to know that there might be a creative upside to intoxication.

[via UIC News]

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