At first, I thought it was a meme, but an MD actually wrote a paper on this topic. Despite the paper’s official stature, it does not make it any more sound.

Anyway, this graph shows the relationship between chocolate consumption and Nobel laureates.

chocolate consumption and nobel laureates

If this were true, then the consumption of chocolate makes the population as a whole smarter.

However, do not forget to question everything. I wrote about the many possible fallacies when it comes to drawing conclusions based on relationships.

  1. Causality – The author assumes that no other possible causes could occur. For example, milk improves cognitive function, since milk is an ingredient in chocolate.
  2. Reverse Causality – What if chocolate is the preferred snack for reading (reading makes one smarter, creating more Nobel laureate candidates)?
  3. Alternative Explanation – What if the Nobel Prize committee is simply biased towards Western European nations? And those nations so happen to have easy access to chocolate.
  4. Coincidence – It just was …

… or this could be scientifically true. πŸ™‚ Eat more chocolate!

angelina paris - hot chocolate

Anyway, you could read the The New England Journal of Medicine article here. The bottom line is that you cannot trust everything you see or hear. In business, just because your competitor is doing something, you cannot correlate that action directly with his / her success.

  1. Observe
  2. Analyze data
  3. Test hypothesis
  4. Record metrics
  5. Rinse and repeat

Comment below your favorite type, brand or way to eat chocolate!

Stay sweet,

Lawrence Chan

P.S. I like that the graph included a coefficient of determination and p-value. It’s hilarious! If only it were true …