News FocusPsychology

The Theory? Diet Causes Violence. The Lab? Prison

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Science  25 Sep 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5948, pp. 1614-1616
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_1614

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In a more ambitious study than any before, psychologist Bernard Gesch is leading a research team hoping to replicate controversial results showing that nutritional supplements can reduce violence among prisoners. Impressed by the strength of his earlier results and the rigor of his experimental design, the U.K.'s Wellcome Trust announced last year that it would provide $2.3 million for a nutritional supplement trial involving more than 1000 prisoners from three U.K. prisons. The 3-year trial, which started this spring, includes blood chemistry analysis and a battery of computer-based behavioral and cognitive tests designed to address the question that the earlier study could not: If a balanced diet does stem violence, how exactly does it do so?