Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today

Food for Comfort

Examines the psychological aspect of craving for food. Food being
craved by men and women; Personality traits associated with food
preferences.

TASTE

We all do scream for ice cream: When 1,005 men and women were asked
to name their favorite comfort food, both overwhelmingly chose ice dream.
Lead author Brian Wansink, Ph.D., a University of Illinois marketing
professor, found that people cognitively connect important past
associations with specific foods. Craving ice cream, for example, may
stem from a desire to recapture carefree, childhood days of running after
the Good Humor track.

Aside from a shared love of ice cream, however, men and women
craved different foods. While women tend to yearn for sweet, indulgent
foods like chocolate, men usually seek hot dishes like pizza. Such
preferences may reveal personality traits, Wansink says, creating a
"synergy between person and food." For instance, men are more likely than
women to find steak comforting, as it reinforces a traditional, macho
personality. Wansink's findings were published recently in American
Demographics, and he hopes that further research on food psychology may
help determine "how one can reengineer what they see as comfort food to
improve their eating habits."

PHOTO (COLOR): Eating ice cream