ITHACA, N.Y., Nov. 17 (UPI) — The drive to impress a potential mate takes on a culinary component when men and women sit down and dine together.
According to a new Cornell University study, men tend to eat significantly more when dining with women than with men. Women’s eating habits didn’t vary significantly, but when dining with men, women reported feeling like they overate and were hurried through their meal.
Over a two-week period, researchers with Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab watched 105 adults eat lunch at an all-you-can-eat Italian buffet. Men dining with at least one women piled on the pizza and topped off their salad bowls, eating 93 percent more slices and 86 percent more greens than men eating exclusively among other men.
After their meals, diners were intercepted by researchers and given a questionnaire on their dining experience — questions about their level of fullness, whether or not they felt rushed and their enjoyment.
“These findings suggest that men tend to overeat to show off — you can also see this tendency in eating competitions which almost always have mostly male participants,” researcher Kevin Kniffin said in a press release.
Kniffin is the lead author of a new paper on the research, published this week in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science.
Previous studies have arrived at similar conclusions. One experiment conducted at Indiana University of Pennsylvania found male and female college students both tend to order more food in the presence of women and less in the presence of men. But their choices were at least partially dictated by menu item service sizes, as they didn’t have free access to a buffet.