Uncorking a Wine Bottle can Fuel Creativity

It’s a common belief that there is a link between creativity and alcohol consumption. Simply put, drinking wine can help boost a person’s creative process. Thanks to a scientific study, there’s now proof to that popular culture saying.


Intoxication facilitates creativity

Light art wineThe experiment was conducted by researchers from the University of Chicago, Illinois, and was published in Consciousness and Cognition. They tested the effects of moderate alcohol consumption and intoxication on a number of individuals, who were then asked to perform a common creative problem-solving task – the Remote Associates Test (RAT).

The participants included 40 men ages 21 to 30. Half of the participants were brought to a blood-alcohol content of 0.075, which is just below the legal limit of 0.08. The other half were left sober.

After reaching that level of intoxication, the participants completed a series of RAT items.  The participants were also required to watch a movie as part of the experiment’s setting.

Co-author, Dr. Jennifer Wiley, said, “Alcohol manipulates focus.”

The results showed that intoxicated participants were able to solve more RAT items quicker than sober participants. In figures, the intoxicated participants took an average of 11.5 seconds against the sober participants’ 15.2 seconds. Of the 20 problems, an average of nine was completed by the intoxicated participants, while the sober ones only averaged 6. The results also revealed that for many of the intoxicated participants, solutions were perceived from a form of sudden insight or inspiration.

“If you’re doing taxes—not such a good thing. But when it comes to puzzles or ‘out of the box’ tasks, relaxation and flexibility—what you’re feeling after a few drinks—can spark creativity,” said Wiley.


Wine can broaden your horizons

Many believe that the brain’s right hemisphere is where your creativity comes from, while the left hemisphere brings out your more logical thought process. It’s a little more complex than that. Three brain networks are actually in play here. The Imagination Network (IN), the Salience Network (SN), and the Executive Attention Network (EAN).

EAN activates whenever you need to concentrate. It relies on complex problem solving, as well as working memory to form connections.

The IN visualizes mental simulations about anything you can imagine – from visualizing people’s perspectives to possible encounters in the future.

The SI monitors both your internal consciousness and events happening outside you. Basically, SI can determine what takes precedence at a certain moment. 

Pink bottlesThese three working together can either help boost your creativity, or can cancel each other out and weaken your creative process.

Research from the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Mexico suggests that reducing activation in one’s EAN by a little can open the door for an individual’s mind. It will allow the brain to wander, loosen up, and imagine more, because the exertion for EAN gets transferred to its other two counterparts.

That’s where wine can assist you.

If alcohol hinders the brain’s executive process and helps one lose focus, then that loss of focus helps your ability to think creatively. This was suggested by the research from the University of Chicago.


It just takes two
The research discovered that drinking wine will help boost a person’s creativity, although too much of it was unadvised. Two glasses of wine should suffice for people starving for some creative inspirations. You should have a better shot of finishing that next great novel, or creating the next art masterpiece if you drink a couple of glasses.