Washington: Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have found that moderate intoxication helps a person notice minor changes in a visual scene.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," said Jennifer Wiley, professor of psychology at UIC and senior author on the study.Two experiments comprised the new study. 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."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.
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