The Effect of Chocolate Chips on Cookie Preference By: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr. Materials Plate (minimum Pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough Pillsbury Sugar cookie dough 36 cm diameter) (2 tubes, 467 grams each) (2 tubes, 467 grams each) Baking sheet Oven Procedure 1. Prepare two tubes of Pillsbury chocolate chip cookies according to manufacturer’s directions based on the recipe on the back of the product packaging. (Minimum 50 cookies) 2. Prepare two tubes of Pillsbury sugar cookies according to the manufacturer’s directions based on the recipe on the back of the product packaging. (Minimum 50 cookies) 3. Place five chocolate chip cookies and five sugar cookies on a plate. 4. Deliver the plate to Mr. Smith’s office during 4th block (when he has a planning period). 5. Leave the plate of cookies in a conspicuous place within Mr. Smith’s office. 6. Leave the room. 7. After 85 minutes, return to the room and collect the remaining cookies. 8. Count the number of cookies of each type remaining, and record the information in a data table. (# cookies consumed = # of starting cookies - # cookies remaining) 9. Repeat steps 3-7 on ten different days, recording the results from each trial. Be sure to always drop off the cookie plate at the same time for each trial. 10. After ten trials, calculate the average number of each type of cookie that was consumed. Compare the averages for chocolate chip vs. sugar cookies to determine the validity of the hypothesis. Results Results of this experiment are summarized in the following table: Table 1: Numerical Results Trial Number Date Time Cookies Deployed Time Cookie Plate Retrieved 1 2 3 4 2/28/12 3/1/12 3/3/12 3/9/12 2:20 pm 2:22 pm 2:25 pm 2:19 pm 3:45 pm 3:42 pm 3:48 pm 3:43 pm 5 6 7 8 9 10 3/11/12 2:22 pm 3:44 pm 3/12/12 2:20 pm 3:51 pm 3/14/12 2:21 pm 3:39 pm 3/15/12 2:15 pm 3:41 pm 3/18/12 2:22 pm 3:47 pm 3/19/12 2:28 pm 3:48 pm Average Cookies Per Trial: Number of Chocolate Chip Cookies Consumed 4 2 3 5 Number of Sugar Cookies Consumed Notes 1 0 2 2 1 3 3 2 4 5 3 3.2 1 2 2 5 1 1.9 Some cookies deployed on this date may have been eaten by a mouse observed in the office, rather than by Mr. Smith. Another way to examine the data is to consider the percentages of total cookie consumption on each day of the trial. Table 2: Percentage Results Trial Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 TOTALS Number of Chocolate Chip Cookies Consumed 4 2 3 5 1 3 2 4 5 3 32 Number of Sugar Cookies Consumed Total Cookies Consumed % Chocolate Chip Cookies % Sugar Cookies 1 0 2 2 3 1 2 2 5 1 19 5 2 5 7 4 4 4 6 10 4 51 80 100 60 71.4 25 75 50 67 50 75 63% 20 0 40 28.6 75 25 50 33 50 25 37% Graph Number of Cookies Consumed Per Trial 6 # Cookies Consumed 5 4 Choc. Chip 3 Sugar 2 1 0 Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Trial 4 Trial 5 Trial 6 Trial 7 Trial 8 Trial 9 Trial 10 Conclusion The hypothesis for this experiment was the effect of chocolate chips on cookie preference. Based on the analysis of the data obtained during the study period, this experiment seems to support the hypothesis that when cookies left unattended in the vicinity of Mr. Smith, there will be differential cookie consumption, with chocolate chip cookies being consumed more than other types of cookies. Supporting results include the fact that nine of the ten trials, the number of chocolate chip cookies consumed was equal to or exceeded the number of sugar cookies consumed. (As noted in the table notes, external conditions may have affected the results of the one trial in which more sugar cookies were consumed than chocolate chip.) On average, 3.2 chocolate chip cookies were consumed during each trial, compared to only 1.9 sugar cookies. These results appear to suggest a preference for chocolate chip cookies. In addition, when looking at the total number of cookies consumed over all trials, 63% of all cookies consumed were chocolate chip, compared to only 37% sugar cookies. It was suggested to the experimenters that it may be the case that Mr. Smith simply does not care for sugar cookies, and that another cookie (e.g. gingerbread or oatmeal-raisin) may fare better when paired against the chocolate chip cookies. Future experiments in this field may include several different types of cookies in order to further explore Mr. Smith’s cookie preferences beyond the two varieties represented in this study. Students could expand this experiment to other subjects besides Mr. Smith. This way the data would be more significant when answering the question of which cookie would be consumed in greater quantities. If students wanted to conduct a club sponsored fund raising bake sale this data could be used to increase club profits. Data Gaps During one trial (Trial 5) a mouse was observed scurrying in the room where the cookies were left for Mr. Smith. The mouse was not directly observed eating any of the cookies; however, the possibility cannot be conclusively excluded, and may explain the anomalous results obtained for that trial. To avoid situations where animals could eat the cookies the samples should be placed in a closed container. Cookies should be uniform in size and shape so as to not sway the subject from choosing one cookie over another because of its appearance. Cookies should be measured before baking and those cookies selected for the experiment should resemble each other in size and appearance. For purposes of this study, partially eaten cookies were counted as “consumed” if more than 50% of the cookie was missing. Such rounding errors are not considered likely to have affected the overall results; however, a better method of cookie accounting may improve the accuracy of precision of future studies. Photos Pillsbury Sugar Cookie dough in the tube. Photo taken by Dean Martin Chocolate Chip cookies uniform size and shape before baking. Photo taken by Dean Martin Sugar cookies after baking. Note the uniform size and shape. Photo taken by Frank Sinatra Finished product Chocolate chip cookies Photo by Sammy Davis, Jr. Finished product of Sugar Cookies Photo taken by Sammy Davis, Jr.