Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Drinking may improve ability to detect changes

Date:
February 11, 2013
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
Moderate intoxication may help a person notice minor changes in a visual scene, researchers have found.

Moderate intoxication may help a person notice minor changes in a visual scene, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have found. During tests of "change blindness," the inability to notice minor changes, intoxicated participants detected as many changes as sober subjects and with shorter response times.

"Both the sober and drunk people find the same number of changes, but drunk people find them faster," says Jennifer Wiley, professor of psychology at UIC and senior author on the study.

Two experiments comprised the new study, which was published online in the journal Consciousness and Cognition.

First, 48 males were given a baseline task-set to make sure the drinking and non-drinking groups were equal at the outset.

The drinking group then watched an animated movie while consuming vodka and cranberry juice until they reached approximately .08 percent blood alcohol content -- legal intoxication. The nondrinking group watched the same movie.

Researchers then challenged each group using a flicker paradigm (going back and forth between two versions of the same image with one small change) in eight rounds of the test. Each round featured an everyday setting, such as a farmers market or an office. Participants had to indicate when they noticed an item change, and identify it.

People typically used one of two strategies, Wiley said.

"As western readers in the U.S., we usually start at the top-left corner and scan back and forth looking for anything that might be changing," said Wiley, in describing a systematic approach.

An alternative method is not to scan. Rather than focusing attention, the subject waits for the change to "pop out."

"Our suspicion is that the sober people are using a more systematic, methodical strategy, and the drunk people are waiting for the 'pop out,'" Wiley said.

A second experiment, using working memory tasks -- which require focused attention -- proved more difficult for the intoxicated group. These tests require remembering sequences of letters or shapes while performing another task, such as solving a math problem, at the same time.

"These tests require you to go back and forth between two tasks, which means you need to be directing your attention," Wiley said. "So there is a lot of updating, and a lot of back and forth. Drunk people are less able to do this, and they did 15 to 30 percent worse on these tasks."

Co-author Gregory Colflesh, now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland, says the findings "nicely supplement our previous research illustrating that moderate intoxication improved creativity."

In that study, Wiley, Colflesh, and UIC graduate student Andrew Jarosz found that participants who were slightly under the .08 percent legal limit for blood alcohol outperformed sober subjects in solving word association problems.

Wiley says for some tasks, like change detection and creative problem-solving, "you are sometimes better off not trying to direct yourself to find an answer."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gregory J.H. Colflesh, Jennifer Wiley. Drunk, but not blind: The effects of alcohol intoxication on change blindness. Consciousness and Cognition, 2013; 22 (1): 231 DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2013.01.001

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "Drinking may improve ability to detect changes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211202001.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2013, February 11). Drinking may improve ability to detect changes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211202001.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "Drinking may improve ability to detect changes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211202001.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins