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Does chocolate make you clever? 巧克力能让你变得聪明?

来源:www.en369.cn  作者:英语作文网  时间:2012-11-19  

Eating more chocolate improves a nation's chances of producing Nobel Prize winners - or at least that's what a recent study appears to suggest. But how much chocolate do Nobel laureates eat, and how could any such link be explained?

The study's author, Franz Messerli of Colombia University, started wondering about the power of chocolate after reading that cocoa was good for you.

One paper suggested regular cocoa intake led to improved mental function in elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment, a condition which is often a precursor to dementia, he recalls.

"There is data in rats showing that they live longer and have better cognitive function when they eat chocolate, and even in snails you can show that the snail memory is actually improved," he says.

So Messerli took the number of Nobel Prize winners in a country as an indicator of general national intelligence and compared that with the nation's chocolate consumption. The results - published in the New England Journal of Medicine - were striking.

Chocolate consumption and Nobel laureates


"When you correlate the two - the chocolate consumption with the number of Nobel prize laureates per capita - there is an incredibly close relationship," he says.

"This correlation has a 'P value' of 0.0001. This means there is a less than one-in-10,000 probability that this correlation is simply down to chance."

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It might not surprise you that Switzerland came top of the chocolate-fuelled league of intelligence, having both the highest chocolate consumption per head and also the highest number of Nobel laureates per capita.

Sweden, however, was an anomaly. It had a very high number of Nobel laureates but its people consumed much less chocolate on average.

Messerli has a theory: "The Nobel prize obviously is donated or evaluated in Sweden [apart from the Peace Prize] so I thought that the Swedes might have a slightly patriotic bias.


The Swiss eat the most chocolate... and have been rewarded with the most Nobel Prizes, per head of population
Continue reading the main story

Start Quote
To win a Nobel Prize you have to produce something others haven't thought about - chocolate that makes you feel good might contribute”
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Prof Christopher Pissarides
"Or the other option is that the Swedes are excessively sensitive and only small amounts stimulate greatly their intelligence, so that might be the reason that they have so many Nobel Prize laureates."

We conducted our own, entirely unscientific, survey to ascertain just how much chocolate Nobel laureates ate.

Christopher Pissarides, from the London School of Economics, reckons his chocolate consumption laid the foundations for his Nobel Prize for Economics in 2010.

"Throughout my life, ever since I was a young boy, chocolate was part of my diet. I would eat it on a daily basis. It's one of the things I eat to cheer me up.

"To win a Nobel Prize you have to produce something that others haven't thought about - chocolate that makes you feel good might contribute a little bit. Of course it's not the main factor but... anything that contributes to a better life and a better outlook in your life then contributes to the quality of your work."

However, Rolf Zinkernagel - the largely Swiss-educated 1996 Nobel Prize winner for medicine - bucks his national trend.


Swedes eat only half as much chocolate as Germans but the country has twice as many Nobel laureates per head... perhaps it's down to the meatballs?
"I am an outlier, because I don't eat more than - and never have eaten more than - half a kilogram of chocolate per year," he says.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote
Milk chocolate makes you stupid… dark chocolate is the way to go”
End Quote
Eric Cornell
Robert Grubbs, an American who shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2005, says he eats chocolate whenever possible.

"I had a friend who introduced me to chocolate and beer when we were younger. I have transferred that now to chocolate and red wine.

"I like to hike and I eat chocolate then, I eat chocolate whenever I can."

But this is a controversial subject.

Grubbs' countryman, Eric Cornell, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001, told Reuters: "I attribute essentially all my success to the very large amount of chocolate that I consume. Personally I feel that milk chocolate makes you stupid… dark chocolate is the way to go. It's one thing if you want a medicine or chemistry Nobel Prize but if you want a physics Nobel Prize it pretty much has got to be dark chocolate."

But when More or Less contacted him to elaborate on this comment, he changed his tune.

"I deeply regret the rash remarks I made to the media. We scientists should strive to maintain objective neutrality and refrain from declaring our affiliation either with milk chocolate or with dark chocolate," he said.

"Now I ask that the media kindly respect my family's privacy in this difficult time."


But while the Japanese clearly enjoy a cocoa-based snack, their chocolate consumption is relatively low - as is their Nobel Prize haul
It might surprise you that we are trying to make a serious point. This is a classic case where correlation, however strong, does not mean causation.

Messerli gave us another example. In post-war Germany, the human birth rate fell along with the stork population. Were fewer storks bringing fewer babies?

The answer was that more homes were being built, destroying the storks' habitat. And the homes were small - not the sort of places you could raise a large family in.

"This is a very, very common way of thinking," he says.

"When you see a correlation, you do think there is causation in one way or another. And in general it's absolutely true. But here we have a classic example where we cannot find a good reason why these two correlate so closely."

What's your theory about chocolate's apparent link to intelligence - and what other odd correlations have you noticed? Send us your comments using the form below.

 

 

多吃点巧克力就能增加一个国家得诺奖的几率?

好吧,至少最近的一项研究是这么说的。那么一个诺贝尔奖得主会吃多少巧克力?而这两者间存在的相关性又该怎么解释?

 

哥伦比亚大学的弗朗兹·梅色利是这份研究报告的撰写者。他在读了可可对人体有益的文章之后,突然对巧克力的力量有些好奇了。


有一篇论文显示:定期摄入一定的可可将会提高有轻度认知障碍的老年病人的心智功能,而认知障碍通常是痴呆症的先兆。


他说,“数据显示当老鼠吃了巧克力,会活的更长;即使拿蜗牛做实验,也会发现蜗牛的记忆力真的提高了。”


于是,梅色利拿一个国家的诺贝尔得主的数据作为衡量一个国家总体智力水平的指标,并且将这一指标和这个国家的巧克力消费量做对比。这份发表在新英格兰医学期刊上的结论,真的很让人很震惊。


巧克力消费量和诺贝尔得主数

 

 

他说,“当你拿巧克力消费量和诺奖得主数这两个变量做相关分析,就会发现两者间惊人的相关性。”


“相关性分析的p值是0.0001,这意味着这样的相关若是纯属偶然,可能性不到万分之一。”


瑞士在最高巧克力消费量的带动下智力水平也是最高,这样的结果可能不会让你感到意外。瑞士这个国家,不仅人均巧克力消费量居于最高,其人均诺奖得主数也是最高。


但是瑞典就是一个异常值了。其诺奖得主数很高,但是平均巧克力消费量却低得多。


梅色利对此作出解释:“很显然,诺奖是在瑞典人捐赠创立的,也是瑞典人评定的(诺贝尔和平奖除外),所以瑞典人出于爱国可能会有些偏袒。”

 

 

从人均水平来看,瑞士人吃的巧克力最多,被授予的诺奖数目也是最多。


“或者可以这么说,瑞士人极度敏感,极少量的巧克力就能很大程度上激发他们的智力,所以他们才会拥有这么多的诺奖得主。”


我们希望就诺奖得主到底吃多少巧克力这个问题展开调查,尽管该研究完全没有科学性可言。

 

伦敦经济学院的克里斯多夫·皮萨利德斯认为,吃巧克力为他赢得2010年诺贝尔经济学奖打下了基础。

“我的一生,从年轻的时候,巧克力就成为了我食谱的一部分。我每天都会吃巧克力,它会让我振作起来。”


“要想赢得诺奖,你必须‘生产’出某些别人从来没有想到过的东西。而让你感觉不错的巧克力可能会有点用。当然巧克力不是主要因素,但是,所有能让你的生活变得更好、能让你未来的生活看起来更美妙的东西,都会帮助提高你的生活质量。”


但是,在瑞士受教育的辛格纳吉——1996年诺贝尔医学奖得主,却在抵制这种国家潮流。

 

 

 

 

瑞士吃的巧克力只有德国的一半,可是这个国家的人均诺奖得主人数却是德国的两倍,可能这取决于肉丸?


他说,“我是个异常值,因为我在一年里吃的巧克力没有——而且从来没有——超过一斤。”


罗伯特格鲁布,一个在2005年分享诺贝尔化学奖的美国人,说他随时都会吃巧克力。


“在我年轻的时候,我有一个朋友让我认识了巧克力和啤酒,而现在变成了巧克力和红酒。”

“我喜欢远足,然后吃点巧克力,只要有可能,我就会吃巧克力。”


但是这是有争议的话题。


格拉布斯的同胞,埃里克康纳尔,在2001年赢得了诺贝尔物理学奖,告诉路透社,“我能取得如此大的成功,很大程度是因为我吃的巧克力。个人而言,我感觉牛奶巧克力会让你变傻,而黑巧克力则不一样。如果你想要诺贝学医学或是化学奖,那你就选牛奶巧克力。但是如果你想要赢得诺贝尔物理学奖,似乎只能是黑巧克力。”


但是当More or Less栏目组和他联系让他就此详细阐述时,他改变了之前的说法。

“面对媒体言论如此轻率鲁莽,我深感悔恨。我们科学家应该力图保持客观中立,不能和黑白巧克力中的任何一方结成联盟。”


“现在我恳求媒体在此困难时期能够尊重我和家人的隐私。”

 


 

 

尽管日本人真的很喜欢可可小吃,但是他们的巧克力消费量相对来说还是比较低,这也给他们赢得诺奖拉了后腿。


别惊讶,其实我们在尽力做出个严肃的论断。在做相关性分析的时候,就算是强相关,也并不意味着两者间存在因果关系;而刚才的就是个很经典的例子。


梅色利给了我们另一个例子。德国在二战后,人的出生率在下降,而鹤也是如此。那么更少的鹤宝宝是不是导致了我们的宝宝的减少?


答案很显然不是。人类的住房不断扩建,摧毁了鹤的栖息地。而且扩建的住房面积变小了,并不是那种你可以养一大家子人的房子了。

他说,“这是非常非常普遍的思考方式。”


“当你发现相关性,你就会想这两者之间存在着某种因果关系。一般而言,这绝对是正确的。但是在这个经典例子里却不是。为什么两者之间相关性如此之强,我们找不到充足的理由。”


巧克力与智力水平之间有着如此强的联系,对此你的看法是什么?你还注意到了哪些奇怪的相关现象?

 

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