All the taste, none of the calories

Why does this leave a bad taste in my mouth? Numerous news sources are reporting that chocolate has a stronger effect on the heart and brain than kissing.

Alarm bells started ringing when it became obvious that the story is a promotion for a sweet company trying to advertise a new line of chocolate bars.

The ‘research’ was conducted by a company called The Mind Lab who offer to do psychology studies for a number of purposes, including “PR oriented research” to get a “route into the media”.

Their founder, Dr David Lewis, can even be hired to “provide independent, third party, endorsement”, demonstrating that contradiction is no barrier to good marketing.

Apparently, the study used EEG and heart rate measures to compare response during kissing, to response during a bizarre condition where a lump of chocolate was put on the tongue and was left until it melted.

I say apparently, because the research itself seems not to be available.

It doesn’t seem to have been published anywhere (although I can’t say there are many neuropsychology journals crying out for EEG studies comparing melted chocolate and kissing) and so far, the company has not responded to my request for the details of the study.

What is slightly disappointing is that the company seems also to do ‘serious’ research and the founder is an established researcher.

A well-written, elegantly designed, surprisingly creative research paper may yet turn up in my inbox, but until that time, I’d avoid the junk.

Anyway, we know from published neuroscience research that too much chocolate makes you feel sick (and just how the brain might generate the feeling).

UPDATE: Four days later and no reply to my requests. This one’s junk.

UPDATE 2: I finally did get details of the study from The Mind Lab. I posted about it here.

Link to a genuinely interesting chocolate study.

2 Comments

  1. nicolai
    Posted April 18, 2007 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Hi,
    Danish news ran the same story today – how do you know that the research is linked up with a new line of chocolate bars?
    Best regards, Nicolai

  2. Posted April 18, 2007 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    It mentions it in several of the newspaper stories as well as quoting a spokesman from the company.


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