When you're about to dump sriracha sauce all over your brunch eggs, do you ever pause to wonder why you enjoy its spicy goodness so much, or do you just dump, bite, and mindlessly enjoy a delicious meal? According to new research out of Penn State, your predilection could be because you simply like spicy food—OR, if you're male, you might just like the image of being someone who likes spicy food, i.e. tough and masculine and able to tolerate capsaicin okay.
Via The Cut:
In the study, the researchers conclude that women are more likely to seek sensation from spicy food, while men are more likely to see other extrinsic rewards like praise and admiration. The authors write, "It is possible that the cultural association of consuming spicy foods with strength and machismo has created a learned social reward for men."
This raises many questions. Like, if you're on a date, and a guy orders pasta puttanesca, which is already kind of spicy but not crazy spicy in the grand scheme of hot, but then asks for a side of arrabbiata sauce—is he trying to impress you, or is he just trying to take advantage of the bread basket? If a man drinks a Bloody Mary in a forest and no one is there to see him finish off the celery stalk, did it happen?
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