A New Study Says Alcohol Can Improve Your Memory
Time to restock your bar cart! According to a new study from the University of Exeter, social drinkers are better at remembering learned information than their non-drinking counterparts. So pop some Champagne in the name of science! That end-of-day glass of wine or five o’clock cocktail can be more beneficial than you thought.
The study sought to determine whether the proven memory-boosting effects of alcohol found in a laboratory could be applied to a naturalistic setting — meaning, can we try this at home? The answer: a resounding Y-E-S!
Researchers assigned 88 social drinkers an at-home learning task and divided them into two groups: one that could drink as much alcohol as they wanted and one that was to remain completely sober. They quizzed each participant’s memory the night of and the morning after learning. While both groups had a similar performance on the tests the night of the learning, the next morning, the memories of the imbibing group members were better than those of the group that abstained.
We’re all aware of the memory loss associated with information and events while you’re drinking (hence thoughts such as, “What happened last night?” when you’re scrolling through your camera roll the next morning), but alcohol has been shown to help you remember things you learned before drinking. The researchers weren’t 100 percent certain as to why this was the case, but they think it’s because while under the influence of alcohol, newly learned information is blocked. So the mental space that would have been used for processing the current antics of a night out, for better or worse, is freed up to store and convert previously learned information into long-term memory. Seems like your brain on alcohol may have better judgment than you.
And with that, we’re off to happy hour!
What are your memory-boosting tricks? Tell us @BritandCo!
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