Will Work For Chocolate

Will work for chocolate is alive and well among some undergraduates. The experimental psychologists at U of Birmingham have recruited forty females into their labs with the promise of free chocolate. We should note that this isn’t to be considered as a long-term career prospect, which would cause anyone to drop out of their courses, but a secret study into their self-control.

Naish and Harris planned this study carefully and offered places on their ‘Mood, Personality, and Lifestyle Experiment’ that would have free chocolate provided (1). The women selected were 18 to 25 years old with BMI of 16 to 33 and exhaustive profile studies placed them in either low or high sensory sensitivity groups.

That was the set up and the experiment started with stressing the participants out with anagrams to solve. Handy bowls of chocolate goodies were placed within easy reach while the young ladies were racking their brains.

The control group had easy anagrams containing only 4 to 6 letters, but those destined to suffer the worst that the psycho-experimenters had to offer had 6 to 8 letters in theirs, BUT only 14% were solvable. The time was of course limited and the clock ticked inexorably to the close as the participants struggled with impossible puzzles with no hope of success.

In the end it wasn’t the stress that produced the highest chocolate consumption. The only correlation that worked was that those deemed to be in the high sensory sensitivity group managed to eat almost twice as much chocolate as those in the low sensory sensitivity group.

So if you have a weakness for the good life and its sensory excitement, it will be best that you don’t keep bowls of chocolate goodies on you desk while you are revising, working on term papers or filling in income tax forms else your BMI will be at risk.

  1. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0043622

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