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Voodoo dolls and chocolate bars

The lower their blood sugar levels, the more pins people pushed into the dolls during s study to measure aggressive feeling between spouses.
Diana Duel

According to Brad Bushman a psychology researcher at Ohio State University, a quick dose of chocolate (or other candy) may go a long way in dispelling major fights between married couples by alleviated low glucose levels that can make them “especially touchy.”

“We need glucose for self-control, and anger is the emotion that most people have difficulty controlling,” he stated.

To test his theory, Bushman and his colleagues observed 107 married couples for 21 days, measuring their blood sugar levels each night, then asking each of the participants to stick pins in a voodoo doll representing their mates to determine their levels of aggressive feelings. What they found was that “the lower the blood sugar level, the more pins were pushed into the dolls, often twice as many as those with higher levels.” 70% of the time most people were (generally) not angry with their spouses and did not stick any pins into their dolls, co-author Richard Pond Jr. of the University of North Carolina (Wilmington) noted that the average amount was slightly more than one pin per night per person. However three people did put all 51 pins into their dolls all at once.

The later result also gave researchers pause to consider whether low glucose levels may be a contributing factor in domestic violence cases. To test that theory, Chris Beedie, a psychology professor at Aberysterwith University in the UK suggests giving control groups alternating doses of high and low glucose on different occasions to see if there really is a difference in aggressive behavior.

Still, Bushman stated, “There’s a good physical reaction to link eating to emotion,” and was quick to note that, “The brain, which is only 2% of body weight, consumes 20% of our calories.” As a result, he and his team think that eating a candy bar when discussing certain issues may be a good idea for couples, although they did add that consuming fruits and vegetables is a “better long-term way for keeping blood sugar levels up.”

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