Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Dumbest Study I've Ever Read

This study has nothing to do with drugs, psychotherapy, or even neuroscience. It's about Jesus' head; more specifically, it's about Jesus' head in relation to the size of the main course in 52 different depictions of the Last Supper.

I know what you're all thinking, it's barely past noon, and I've hit the scotch too hard this time. From the International Journal of Obesity:
"Portion sizes of foods have been noticably increasing in recent years, but when did this trend begin? If art imitates life and if food portions have been generally increasing with time, we might expect this trend to be reflected in paintings that depict food. Perhaps the most commonly painted meal has been that of Jesus Christ's Last Supper, chronicled in the New Testament of the Bible. A CAD–CAM analysis of the relative food-to-head ratio in 52 representative paintings of the Last Supper showed that the relative sizes of the main dish, bread, and plates have linearly increased over the past millennium."
First, it's spelled noticeably, not noticably. No need to thank me, I'm just here to help.

Lead author, Brian Wansink, proudly displayed his virginity by saying, "I think people assume that increased serving sizes, or ‘portion distortion,’ is a recent phenomenon, but this research indicates that it’s a general trend for at least the last millennium."

His brother Craig Wansink, proving that mental illness does run in their family added, "As the most famously depicted dinner of all time, the Last Supper is ideally suited for review."

Here is a graph showing some of the data that will one day lead to a vaccination for jock itch.   
I am posting another graph below because I hate all of you.

  What they found was that "the main courses depicted in the paintings grew by 69%, plate size by 66%, and bread size by 23%" over the course of 1000 years.

 I've lost precious minutes from my life. I've created this post to waste your time as well.
Be careful everyone. Stupid can kill...


B Wansink and C S Wansink (2010). The largest Last Supper: depictions of food portions and plate size increased over the millennium International Journal of Obesity, 37

UPDATE: It just got worse...


Anonymous said...

Christianity is making us fat!

Rob Goldstein said...

Great title for your post. Now if we could just get titles like that published in academic journals, science would be a lot more fun.

Psi Wavefunction said...

If only we could get -reviews- like that published in academic journals...!

Neuroskeptic said...

Is it just me or does the graph of bread size vs year bear an eerie similarity to the graph of antidepressant effects vs severity in Kirsch et al 2008?

You got the single very low year/severity study that screws up the correlations, the slight upward trend but with loads of variability...