Scientists Find Link Between Risk-Takers and Spicy Food

Scientists Find Link Between Risk-Takers and Spicy Food
Editorial Staff
February 9, 2015
Need a daring executive who isn’t afraid to take a chance when it comes to making decisions? Think about hiring someone who likes their pad thai extra spicy.
A new study from from Penn State says that people who have risk-taking, adventurous personalities are six times more likely to enjoy spicy foods. However, the study, published in Food Quality and Preference, points out major differences between why men and women are drawn to fiery foods.
The researchers write:

“In men and women, there may be divergent mechanisms leading to the intake of spicy foods; specifically, men may respond more to extrinsic factors, while women may respond more to intrinsic factors.”

After analyzing participants’ answers to questionnaires, the researchers found that while most women sought out spiciness purely for the sensation of some heat on their tongues, men consumed hot foods for the reward of praise and admiration they received for proving their “manliness” for eating something hot.
Men are more in love with the idea of being the type of man who can stand the heat, whereas women just like the heat, according to the findings.

“It is possible that the cultural association of consuming spicy foods with strength and machismo has created a learned social reward for men.”

A recent study from the University of Grenoble found that men who regularly consume chili peppers have higher levels of testosterone.
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