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The Chocolate Trial

In 2022 LICTR took part in the University of Leeds Be Curious event. Be Curious is a university open day with a difference. It’s for families to visit the university for a day of free activities which are centred around the research that happens across the university. You can find out more about Be Curious here.

At Be Curious LICTR staff introduced clinical trials research using an interactive activity called “The Chocolate Trial”. The activity took event attendees through the different stages of a clinical trial trying to answer the question “Which kind of chocolate makes people happier?”.

Since 2022, there have been a few iterations of the chocolate trial at Be Curious 2023 and more recently in 2024 at Be Curious on Tour. However, the premise stays the same:

  1. Information and Consent: Event attendees are introduced to the activity and told what will happen at every stage. They are also asked about their dietary requirements. This starts a conversation about informed consent and eligibility criteria to ensure a trial is safe for everyone to take part.
  2. Randomisation: Event attendees are allocated milk or white chocolate by either using a flow diagram to represent to stratified randomisation or choosing a ball out of a bag. This starts a conversation about choosing which kind of chocolate and whether that would make the experiment fair.
  3. Intervention: Event attendees get to eat their chocolate!
  4. Data Collection and Results: Event attendees answer the question “How happy are you now?”. This information is either fed into a computer to automatically create a bar chart or put on a sticker chart for attendees to see any patterns and discuss the results so far.

You can see some pictures of the most recent event below.

The Chocolate Trial Photo 3
The Chocolate Trial Photo 4
The Chocolate Trial Photo 1
The Chocolate Trial Photo 2

Here’s what some of the staff members and the public said about the event:
I had a lot of fun overall. I had some really interesting discussions with both the children and the parents. It’s also great to think about our work in a different way and how to present this to children.” – Staff Member
“It was really enjoyable, something very different to be a part of. I am proud of the department, the University and the work we do and believe its really important to tell the public (especially children) about it!” – Staff Member
“This is a really clever way of doing it” – Member of the Public
“The chocolate trial was a good way to get children thinking about research.” – Members of the Public

If you are interested in more information about this work please contact Kara-Louise Royle (