Journalists’ brains function at below an average level because they consume too much alcohol, caffeine and sugar, but their love of their work helps them fight through the difficult times, according to a study by neuroscientist Tara Swart.
The research, which was carried out in partnership with the London Press Club, sought to figure out how journalists survive and thrive amid the stress of deadline pressure, low pay, poor job security and high levels of public scrutiny.
Thirty-one journalists were asked to carry out a series of tests, answer a questionnaire and report their eating and drinking habits.
The study concluded that participants’ brains were lacking in the executive functioning department, which encompasses high-level cognitive functions such as emotional control, complex problem-solving, multi-tasking and the ability to suppress biases.
These deficiencies were attributed to “dehydration, self-medicating, and fueling their brains with caffeine and high-sugar foods,” according to a London Press Club release.
Over 40 percent of study participants said they drank 18 or more units of alcohol (180 ml of pure alcohol) per week — the recommended weekly consumption is 14 units (comparable to 1.5 bottles of low-alcohol wine or 4.5 pints of 5.2% ABV beer), according to U.K. guidelines.
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