On the positive side, the study found that journalists excel at abstract thinking. They generally can see the big picture and “think outside of the box and make connections where others might not see them.”
Journalists were also good at value-tagging, meaning they are able to pick out the most important parts from big piles of information.
On the other hand, journalists in the study scored particularly low on “executive function,” the part of the mind that makes complex decisions, manages time and helps complete tasks.
Low executive functioning means that journalists may find it difficult to “regulate emotions, suppress biases, solve complex problems, switch between tasks, and think flexibly and creatively,” the study says.
Journalists are also easily distracted and have difficulty silencing the mind, as well as often worrying about the future and regretting the past.
These statistics set the stage for Swart’s other findings, namely, that journalists drink too much alcohol and not enough water. Some of the respondents didn’t drink any alcohol, but those that did drank an average of 16 units per week, and 41 percent drank 18 units a week. That puts journalists in the top 20 percent of Americans for alcohol consumption, according to 2014 research.Excessive drinking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is 15 drinks per week for men and eight drinks per week for women.