Effects of Intentionally Enhanced Chocolate on Mood

September 1, 2007
Dean Radin, PhD

Radin, D., Hayssen, G. & Walsh, J. (2007). Effects of intentionally enhanced chocolate on mood. EXPLORE, 3(5),485-492.


OBJECTIVE: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled experiment investigated whether chocolate exposed to “good intentions” would enhance mood more than unexposed chocolate.

DESIGN: Individuals were assigned to one of four groups and asked to record their mood each day for a week by using the Profile of Mood States. For days three, four and five, each person consumed a half ounce of dark chocolate twice a day at prescribed times. Three groups blindly received chocolate that had been intentionally treated by three different techniques. The intention in each case was that people who ate the chocolate would experience an enhanced sense of energy, vigor, and well-being. The fourth group blindly received untreated chocolate as a placebo control. The hypothesis was that mood reported during the three days of eating chocolate would improve more in the intentional groups than in the control group.

SUBJECTS: Stratified random sampling was used to distribute 62 participants among the four groups, matched for age, gender, and amount of chocolate consumed on average per week. Most participants lived in the same geographic region to reduce mood variations due to changes in weather, and the experiment was conducted during one week to reduce effects of current events on mood fluctuations.

RESULTS: On the third day of eating chocolate, mood had improved significantly more in the intention conditions than in the control condition (P = .04). Analysis of a planned subset of individuals who habitually consumed less than the grand mean of 3.2 ounces of chocolate per week showed a stronger improvement in mood (P = .0001). Primary contributors to the mood changes were the factors of declining fatigue (P = .01) and increasing vigor (P = .002). All three intentional techniques contributed to the observed results.

CONCLUSION: The mood-elevating properties of chocolate can be enhanced with intention.


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