According to researchers at Cornell University, men consume 93% more pizza when trying to impress a woman. The study, which we saw via the Los Angeles Times, found that men ate significantly more pizza and salad when eating with a woman than with another man.
The Cornell team wanted to better understand the relationship between sexual selection and, what they call, “problematic eating by men” (the team, it should be noted, was composed of applied behavior scientists working in Cornell’s management school). In the introduction to the academic journal, Evolutionary Psychological Science, the group writes:
“When one recognizes the overwhelming presence of men in competitive eating contests where the goal is to consume as much as possible in as short a period as possible, then it becomes clear that male eating patterns warrant closer attention through the lens of sexual selection theory.”
In order to test their theory, the team tracked 133 adults to eat at a “fixed priced..‘all you can eat’” pizza restaurant. It was there they observed that men eating with women tended to eat more.
Kevin Kniffin, the study’s lead author, said that the findings “suggest that men tend to overeat to show off.” The study contends that food consumption is directly linked to showing off. By overeating, men show that “they possess extraordinary skills, advantages, and/or surplus energy in degrees that are superior to other men.” A conclusion, that sounds almost comical.
If men’s food consumption was influenced by the opposite sex, then women’s remained largely the same. Women did acknowledge that when eating with men, they felt “rushed” or that they believed they had overeaten even though researchers said they did not.
The final conclusion: “People should calm down when eating with members of the opposite sex,” Kniffin said. A universal truth, indeed.
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