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Science Idle

Candy Linked To Violence In Study 205

Posted by samzenpus
from the gummy-worms-and-steal dept.
T Murphy writes "A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry links daily consumption of candy at the age of 10 to an increased chance of being convicted of a violent crime by age 34. The researchers theorize the correlation comes from the way candy is given rather than the candy itself. Candy frequently given as a short-term reward can encourage impulsive behavior, which can more likely lead to violence. An alternative explanation offered by the American Dietetic Association is that the candy indicates poor diet, which hinders brain development. The scientists stress they don't imply candy should be removed from a child's diet, although they do recommend moderation. The study controls for teachers' reports of aggression and impulsivity at age 10, the child's gender, and parenting style. The study can be found here, but the full text is behind a paywall."

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Candy Linked To Violence In Study

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  • scaremongering? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by mateomiguel (614660) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `darg_eht_ttam'> on Thursday October 08, 2009 @05:35AM (#29678627)
    This just in also: 100% of violent criminals drink dihydrogen monoxide at young age, inhale/exhale regularly, consume vast quantities of carbohydrates throughout childhood, adulthood.
  • Re:scaremongering? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @05:40AM (#29678647) Homepage Journal

    Yeah but so do 100% of people who are not violent criminals.

    I think there may be a correlation between consumption of unhealthy food, and quality of parenting. Parents who do a good job tend not to encourage consumption of junk food. The same parents steer their kids away from becoming criminals.

  • Correlation? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08, 2009 @05:44AM (#29678671)
    So what kind of parents give their kids candy every day?
  • Re:umm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by matt4077 (581118) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @05:46AM (#29678701) Homepage
    correllation is not causation?

    agggh! Read this: The study controls for teachers' reports of aggression and impulsivity at age 10, the child's gender, and parenting style.

    Do you think scientists with >10 years training know less about statistics than you? They actively try to exclude other causes, which is what "controls for" means. Any other ideas for root causes that do not include those controlled for? Or were you just trying to be smart with a nice one-liner because it worked so well for others?
  • by fluch (126140) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @05:49AM (#29678719)

    Criminals which have been eating candies when they were 10 are dump at the age of 34. The criminals which did not eat candies at the age of 10 are less likely to be caught.

    And if I see again this: "Thirty-five of those children went on to report at age 34 that they'd been convicted of a violent crime, the researchers found." .... they make a statistical statement about a sample of 35! Gosh! The study is not worth even a single penny (nor a candy)!

  • Re:umm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Canazza (1428553) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @05:53AM (#29678731)

    "A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry links daily consumption of candy at the age of 10 to an increased chance of being convicted of a violent crime by age 34"

    It doesn't say how much of an increased chance, and whether or not other rewards (such as toys, or non-candy foodstuffs) would also increase this. Is it the candy that's causing the impulsive behaviour or the rewards themselves? If it's the Candy, which chemical, or mixture of chemicals, is causing it and is it contained in all candy?
    The article doesn't say, and I'm certainly not paying to read the whole thing.

    Eating Candy at the age of 10 does not put you in jail 24 years later.

  • really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GAB_cyclist (1274556) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @06:06AM (#29678791)
    The researchers theorize the correlation comes from the way candy is given rather than the candy itself. Candy frequently given as a short-term reward can encourage impulsive behavior, which can more likely lead to violence So bad parenting is the cause of criminal behaviour? Who would have thought...
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @06:07AM (#29678801) Homepage

    Parents who regularly give their kids candy usually are the sort of parents who aren't disciplining their kids. Candy is often used by such people as a replacement for parental authority in controlling their kids' behavior.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08, 2009 @06:11AM (#29678811)

    When will people finally learn? Studies like that are just stupid. Absolutely nothing was shown here.

    Simple explanation (just an example of cause):
    Less educated families tend to give their children more sweets. Lack of education is responsible for criminal activities (causality assumed for this example). In such a scenario there would of cause be a correlation between sweets and crime but obviously no causality.

  • Re:umm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AHuxley (892839) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @06:19AM (#29678851) Homepage Journal
    Eating Candy at the age of 10 does not put you in jail 24 years later???
    Yet improving the diet of jail populations does seem to reduce violence too.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2006/oct/17/prisonsandprobation.ukcrime [guardian.co.uk]
    Thankfully smart people around the world will follow this up and I hope get some idea of diet, a spike in sugar, hormones, brain activity and ongoing development.
    It might the a cheap colouring, cheap high-fructose corn syrup like structure or amount consumed during development.
  • Re:umm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dhalka226 (559740) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @06:29AM (#29678891)

    It doesn't say how much of an increased chance

    Not directly, but the article does give sample size information and goes on to state: "About 69 percent of those who reported having committed violent acts also reported eating candy daily at age 10, compared to 42 percent of those who did not have a violent criminal past, the study authors noted."

    Then again, even if you were correct I'm not sure what the point of bringing it up was. Read the full study if you're actually interested in what its findings are.

    Is it the candy that's causing the impulsive behaviour or the rewards themselves?

    A perfectly valid question. A little reading comprehension would indicate that they're not sure, given that two different groups are hypothesizing two different explanations based on the same data. In fact you've merely restated the two positions as a question.

    If it's the Candy, which chemical, or mixture of chemicals, is causing it and is it contained in all candy?

    Well, you're getting on the pedantic side now so far as criticizing the study goes. But yes, if it turns out to be the contents of the candy itself I'm sure they'll investigate that further. Unless you demonstrate who's saying that candy is the actual cause of the increased violence though, I'm not sure what the question has to do with what you quoted for your response, nor to what degree your new post somehow explains what you originally said.

    Yes, correlation is not causation, and that's important to distinguish. If you're not simply going for brownie-point mods, then you're going to have to explain who said otherwise. Yours was a root comment, without parent, so one has to assume you're talking about the article. Well, it's not the title, which simply says "linked." Nor the summary, which explicitly uses "correlation." And hell, the article itself actually uses the phrase "correlation never shows causation." So other than the cheap mod points you're accused of, what the hell were either of your posts trying to accomplish?

    My suspicion is that you're one of those people who thinks repeating memes without even a cursory examination of what he's referring to makes you sound smarter. If that's the case: No problem, carry on. Otherwise I suggest you articulate what value you're trying to add to the conversation more clearly.

  • Re:umm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by phoenix321 (734987) * on Thursday October 08, 2009 @07:01AM (#29679045)

    To reevaluate your quote on bad behaviour reinfocement:

    We taxpayers in today's semi-socialist Europe are constantly told that social security, unemployment benefits, welfare (and of course taxes) MUST be that high to keep poor people from starving - and rioting.

    So we are told we're pacifying potential rioters by giving them money. Actual riots are always treated with more money. Most parties on the left and right tell us that all violence and problems will simply go away when we give poor people more money.

    We basically do the candy vs. violence experiment in real-time, on a continent-wide scale and with no control group and no backout plan. And they're rioting daily in Malmo, Paris, Berlin and all other cities of at least a million people. They're burning cars, preferably BMW and Mercedes of the rich of course, in these cities, and they've totaled several thousand cars in this year alone. And yet we don't do anything about it other than pouring money in "good causes" for them.

    I guess we should invest in arms manufacturers now.

  • Re:umm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MrHanky (141717) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @07:13AM (#29679117) Homepage Journal

    No, we in "today's semi-socialist Europe" are not told that social security is to prevent riots, neither constantly nor only now and then. I was going to say that I'm not saying you're lying, but you are: show me where they say that (party sources, not internet dweebs like yourself), and show me sources for the daily riots in Paris, Berlin and Malmo.

    Basically, you support your "argument" with nothing but utter bullshit. That ought to tell you something about yourself.

  • Revised Headline (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JayGuerette (457133) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @07:16AM (#29679133)

    Children of parents who encourage poor & impulsive choices grow up to make poor & impulsive choices.

  • Diet? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Benjo (644811) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @07:36AM (#29679225)
    Isn't it very possible the a persons diet when they're 10 is likely to be an indicator of their parents conscientiousness. If you accept that to be true then all this study really shows is that people with conscientious parents are less likely to be violent criminals. And I think most people would regard that as a no brainer....
  • How about... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @09:30AM (#29680215)

    "Bad and Clueless Parenting Linked to Violence"?

    The big problem with Anglo-Celtic society, is that we always love to yammer on about our rights and inalienable right to individual freedom, but never our responsibilities to each other.

    Libertoons who try to defend the indefensible in the name of "freedom" and "individual liberty" annoy the hell out of me. They're every bit as bad as Marxists, religious crazies and animal rights extremists.

  • Re:Organic Food (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daem0n1x (748565) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @10:02AM (#29680587)

    Yeah, we all know we can't trust any of these "scientific" studies because the organic food corporations are so much more gigantic, rich and powerful than the fast-food corporations.

    It's like global warming. It's all a lie. The tree-hugging hippies have soooo much money and power that they bought all the scientists, the media and all the politicians, too. The poor oil corporations don't have a chance.

  • Re:umm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @11:24AM (#29681625)
    This is not even to mention that all of the data are entirely anecdotal -- and we are talking about children recalling childhood. The accuracy of adult memory has shown to be extremely suspect, never mind trying to remember what you used to eat when you were 7. Did I eat candy every day when I was 7? I have no frickin' clue! That is way too long ago for me to accurately remember. This is just bogus, bogus, bogus research all around.
  • Re:umm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CheshireCatCO (185193) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @03:24PM (#29684549) Homepage

    Read the article before you spend at least as much time to criticize it here, please.

    This was a cohort study. The candy reporting was done AT THE TIME WHEN THEY WERE KIDS.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

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