The Wansink Dossier: An Overview

Brian Wansink is professor at Cornell University and is a high-profile researcher with an impressive track record. He is a ‘world-renowned eating behavior expert‘, White House appointed to lead the USDA committee on Dietary Guidelines (2007-2009), keynote speaker at conventions around the world, author of the bestselling books Mindless Eating and Slim by Design. As an academic he has published hundreds of papers, which have been cited over 20.000 times, and he has a very impressive h-index of 72.

Brian Wansink engages in research practices that are highly questionable and are widely criticized. He has admitted to these practices himself (sources below), and an increasing number of his papers are being retracted or corrected. Despite all this, he is still a professor at Cornell University and director of the Food and Brand Lab.

The majority of his work that has been scrutinized has been done so by Nick Brown, Jordan Anaya, James Heathers, and me. We are all early career researchers who care greatly for the veracity of the scientific literature; none of us are being paid for this investigate work that we do on our own time. Criticisms of Wansink’s work have been featured in a wide variety of news outlets (see section 5 below). In particular, Stephanie Lee, senior technology reporter at BuzzFeed, has done some amazing investigate journalism.

In this blogpost I strive to give a comprehensive overview of the ‘Wansink Dossier’. Due to the massive scope and the ongoing nature of this investigation, I have split it up into several chapters (click on the headers to show/hide the underlying text).