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Addict Behav. 1984;9(4):395-9.

Drinking and creativity: objective and subjective effects.


A literature characterized by considerable speculation but a paucity of empirical studies prompted this experiment on the relation between drinking and creativity. After being queried about how they believed alcohol would affect their creative performance, 40 male undergraduate social drinkers were assigned to one of four treatments in a balanced placebo design. Those actually receiving alcohol consumed a mixture containing .6 g of ethanol per kg of body weight. All subjects then completed the entire Figural portion and the Unusual Uses subtest of the Verbal portion of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. Posttesting explored subjects' own evaluations of their creative products and the kinds of attributions they made about factors contributing to the outcomes. Results showed minimal effects of beverage manipulations on measured creativity even when a priori belief and concurrent mood scores were covaried. However, those individuals who thought they had received alcohol gave significantly more positive evaluations of their creative performances than did subjects who believed they were in the non-alcohol treatments. Subjects did not attribute changes in creativity to drinking. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings were discussed.

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