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March 29, 2010 | by  | in News |
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US Uni gives out free beer in exchange for tests

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Where’s ours Victoria?

Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health and Brown University gave 193 university students a load of free beer and found that binge drinking the night before a test does not impact university students’ test performance.

The study found that being drunk the previous night did not affect students’ scores on academic tests requiring long-term memory, or on tests of recently learned material.

Binge drinking did have an affect on moods, attention and reaction times, with potential negative impacts on safety-related behaviors, such as driving.

The study, which has been published in the April issue of Addiction Journal, was the first of its kind to examine the link between drinking and academic performance by enrolling students in a controlled experiment.

The research team were surprised by the study results because some prior studies have found that occupational performance was impaired the day after a drinking session.

The researchers say that binge drinking could affect other types of academic performance, such as essay writing and problem solving requiring higher cognitive skills.

“We do not conclude that excessive drinking is not a risk factor for academic problems,” the researchers wrote. “It is possible that a higher alcohol dose would have affected next-day academic test scores.

“Moreover, test-taking is only one factor in academic success. Study habits, motivation and class attendance also contribute to academic performance; each of these could be affected by intoxication.”

Previous studies, which relied on surveys, found that students who drink heavily have more academic difficulties than those who drink more moderately.

Researchers believe the study raises interesting questions about the effects of alcohol on specific cognitive skills and reaction/attention behavior, and say further investigation into these areas would be valuable.

Researchers tested 193 university students, ages 21 to 24, recruited from the Boston area. Over two nights volunteer participants received either beer or nonalcoholic beer. They received the opposite drink the second time they were tested.

The next day, participants were given the practice versions of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), as well as a mock quiz on an academic lecture they received the previous afternoon. Students were monitored overnight by an emergency medical technician.

The study found that participants scored no differently on the GREs, or on the quizzes, whether they had consumed alcoholic or non-alcoholic beer.

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