VSL:SCIENCE // Why four drunks are better than one

Here’s something to think about the next time you’re drinking alone: Getting drunk with others can diminish alcohol’s dumbing effects.

Scientists at the University of Kent divided 158 college students into drinking and control groups. The drinking group consumed enough alcohol to take them to the legal limit of 0.08 percent blood alcohol content; the control group drank a similar but nonalcoholic beverage. Next, they all took a vigilance test, which had them count the number of times a certain word occurred in a passage read to them.

As expected, the drunk students fared worse than the sober ones. But when the drinkers were put in groups of four — and encouraged to compare their answers — they did as well as the sober students did either individually or in groups. It seems that theories about the wisdom of crowds can apply even when the crowd is tipsy.

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VSL:SCIENCE // Why four drunks are better than one