Spotlight Series: Traci Mann

Here we go with another Collaborator Spotlight:

Dr. Mann has deep roots in the DiSH Lab Family Tree. Not only was she Dr. Tomiyama’s graduate mentor, her friendship and professional collaborations with Dr. Andrew Ward go all the way back to their grad school days at Stanford. On top of that, the DiSH Lab’s grad student Britt Ahlstrom worked as Dr. Mann’s lab manager, and before her, our collaborating student, Jeff Hunger did as well! Needless to say, Traci Mann has played an integral role mentoring and training our DiSH team!


1. What is the overall topic/theme that your research addresses?

My research focuses on the self-control of eating. I am interested in the little things that cause people to overeat or that help them to undereat (if that is their goal).

2. Tell us about an exciting project you are working on right now.

I am writing a book. It will be released in April 2015 by HarperCollins. It is called Secrets from the Eating Lab: the myth of willpower, why diets fail you, and surprising strategies that really work. Janet features heavily in it. (Well, she will, once I write it!)

3. What is your favorite paper you have ever written?

I adore the 2007 American Psychologist paper with Janet (and others) saying diets don’t work. It was an epic process getting that published. But I love how it cuts right through so much bullshit and just tries to say what’s true. I’m also fond of a paper a bunch of us published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last year where we show a simple way school cafeterias can get kids to eat vegetables. I think I wrote it in an hour.  When the data are solid, the papers practically write themselves.

4. Is there a particular finding/paper/researcher that really inspired your line of research?

I usually say Herman & Polivy’s work showing people overeating after a diet violation, but lately I am citing Brian Wansink a lot. And I firmly believe the Simmons/Simonsohn paper on p-hacking is the most important paper I’ve read in five years.

5. Since we are all foodies here, what is your favorite comfort food?

Marshmallow Peeps.


Stay tuned for more spotlights on the DiSH Lab’s collaborators.