Cognitive Daily would not exist without chocolate. Every week, I buy a bag of chocolate covered raisins, and I portion them out precisely each day so that I’ve finished them by all by (casual) Friday. I try to time my consumption to coincide with the most difficult part of the job: reporting on peer-reviewed journal articles. The little news items, Ask a ScienceBlogger responses, and other miscellaneous announcements can be completed unassisted by chocolate, but then there wouldn’t be much reason to visit the site. Sometimes even the chocolate raisins aren’t enough, and I head for the nearest coffee shop for a cookie or other chocolate treat to further lubricate the writing apparatus.
While I can anecdotally say that chocolate helps me write, actual research on the impact of chocolate consumption tends to focus on negative effects: cravings, effects on weight, or tiredness. But Michael Macht and Dorothy Dettmer have partially rectified that problem with a simple little experiment on the emotional effects of chocolate consumption.
Thirty-seven female German college students volunteered to report on their mood and emotional states before and after eating chocolate or apples twice a day for six days. They were given 12 envelopes with a set of five surveys each. For each experimental session participants opened one envelope. After completing the first survey, which asked them to rate 12 feelings like hunger, boredom, fear, joy, and guilt, on scales of 0 to 7 as well as an overall “mood” rating, on a scale of 0 (extremely bad) to 10 (extremely good), they were instructed to eat either an apple, a Ritter Sport chocolate bar, or nothing. Then they set a timer which would remind them to complete the survey again 5, 30, 60, and 90 minutes after eating (or not eating). They were instructed not to eat for 1 hour before opening the envelope, and were not allowed to eat anything other than the chocolate or the apple until the last survey was completed.
So what was...
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