Cornell nutrition scientist resigns after retractions and research misconduct finding

Researcher who helped U.S. update dietary guidelines resigns after investigation finds he misreported data

Brian Wansink, the Cornell University nutrition researcher known for probing the psychology behind human eating habits, has resigned after a university misconduct investigation, and following the retraction this week of six of his papers.

The professor played a role in the development of new dietary guidelines in 2010 that remade the food pyramid, and his work has been cited by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Today show, among others. The most recent retractions included a 2005 paper that said people eat more when served in large bowls and a 2013 article that said grocery shoppers buy food with more calories when they're hungry.

Brian Wansink has been removed from all teaching and research positions and will retire at the end of the school year next June, Cornell said in a statement.

"From what my coauthors and I believed, the independent analyses of our data sets confirmed all of our published findings", he said.

Researcher who helped U.S. update dietary guidelines resigns after investigation finds he misreported data
Cornell nutrition scientist resigns after retractions and research misconduct finding

Wansink has had 13 scientific articles retracted during his career, including one that was retracted, replaced and retracted again, according to the blog Retraction Watch. Six of his high-profile journal articles were retracted earlier this week.

Wansink's easily digestible studies at Cornell's Food and Brand lab, which he heads, linked environmental cues to food consumption. "That might be why they said they couldn't reproduce these from scratch (that is, there was no scratch)".

"The committee found that Professor Wansink committed academic misconduct in his research and scholarship, including misreporting of research data, problematic statistical techniques, failure to properly document and preserve research results, and inappropriate authorship", a Cornell spokesman wrote in a statement Thursday.

Cornell announced Wansink will spend the rest of his time at the Ivy League school aiding in the investigation into his previous work.

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