Drinking, Men & Problem-Solving

I feel a bit like Karnak with that title, but recent news articles have conspired to force one inevitable conclusion: the world would be a lot better run if (maybe) men had a beer or a cocktail more often.

Now I’m not suggesting we return corporate America to Mad Men levels of excessive alcohol consumption, but I’m also not so naive as to believe that we are a nation ruled by teetotalers.

That would be truly horrible.

What I am saying is this: science & facts back up the assertion I’m making. Men, particularly, seem to be better equipped for innovation and problem-solving if they imbibe/partake/slake their thirst regularly.

Per Researchers at The University of Illinois in Chicago:

“We found at 0.07 blood alcohol, people were worse at working memory tasks, but they were better at creative problem-solving tasks,” psychologist Jennifer Wiley reported on the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS) site.

Wiley conceded that her findings run counter to popular belief that alcohol hinders analytical thinking and muddies the mind.

“We have this assumption, that being able to focus on one part of a problem or having a lot of expertise is better for problem solving,” says Wiley. “But that’s not necessarily true. Innovation may happen when people are not so focused. Sometimes it’s good to be distracted.”

And per an opinion piece of U.S. Presidential drinking habits in the New York Times:

I’ve always thought the beer buddy threshold was nonsense. Still, it’s worth considering what a White House without a tippling tenant would be like. Sobriety, laudable in many respects, does imply rigidity of thought. The best presidents were open-minded, and generally open to a drink. The nondrinkers, at least over the last century or so, were terrible presidents.

Neither article advocates drunkenness or drinking to excess, but a little bit of social lubricant can be a good thing: for easing a tense meeting, a terse negotiation or helping connect the dots of a stubborn problem.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make myself a drink. 😉

“To Alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems!” – Homer J. Simpson