EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium
Volume 9, Special Issue 2, 2017
You are What You Eat: Women’s Evaluation of other Women Based on their Food Selection
Hunter, H., Fisher, M., & De Backer, C.
Past research has shown that women who eat unhealthy foods are rated as less attractive and are perceived to have a less desirable personality than women who eat healthy foods. However, eating too healthily is also perceived negatively. Framing these past findings using an evolutionary perspective, we investigated if and how ratings of women changed when participants learned the target had allegedly consumed primarily healthy, unhealthy, or a balanced diet of healthy and unhealthy foods within the last day. We not only focused on perceived attractiveness and personality ratings, but included a measure of perceived rivalry as well. Results show that getting dietary information about a target woman changes other women’s perceptions of the target’s attractiveness, personality and capacities as a sexual rival. Keeping with our predictions, women portrayed with unhealthy diet choices received the poorest overall ratings. In contrast to recent findings that eating only healthy foods leads to poorer ratings too, our results show that women who exclusively ate healthy foods within the last day received the most favorable ratings and were seen as the most threatening. Women paired with a balanced diet choice received in-between ratings that were significantly different from both other conditions, except for some specific personality traits. In sum, these results show that studying food choice behavior is an avenue worthy of further exploration in the domain of evolutionary psychology.
How to cite this article:
Hunter, H., Fisher, M., & De Backer, C. (2018). You are what you eat: Women’s evaluation of other women based on their food selection. The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium, 9, Sp. Iss. (2), 16-29.