Is that a slice of pizza in your hand, or are you just happy to see me?

So maybe that wasn't "a funny," but you totally want pizza now. We humans are suggestible creatures. Especially, according to science, us easily-convinced ladies.

While some scientists have been busy finding out whether drinking makes men smarter, when it comes to women, they've been looking into this pressing question: if you show a lady a picture of food, will she get eventually fat? And more importantly, if you show her a picture of people having sex, will she maybe want to have sex with you?

Yes and yes, say researchers at Dartmouth University. According to their study, women who were showed titillating pictures of food were more likely to gain weight over a six-month period. And women who were shown pictures of sex were more likely to have sex. The study followed  freshmen women, proving once and for all that a picture weighs about fifteen pounds. 

Yes, you read right. They studied college freshmen, which seems a little flawed since all you do freshman year is gain weight and have sex. Well, apparently that was all part of the master plan. An article on the study in Live Science explains:

"College freshmen were chosen because of the dreaded 'Freshmen 15' weight gain, Kelley said. The researchers wanted a group of volunteers who might be at risk for putting on pounds."

I'm not sure why you would want that in a controlled experiment, but hey, what do I know? I spent Biology 101 digesting falafel and wondering if there were any straight guys in my class. Let's let Live Science explain how the study worked:

"The researchers scanned their volunteers' brains using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while the young women viewed a series of pictures of delicious-looking food, environmental scenes and people. Some of the people-related images included erotic imagery, such as nude couples kissing. The women had no idea of the real purpose of the study."

Yes, they had no idea. They'd never seen such dirty food porn. Never. So get to it, did the experiments make them all fat and slutty?

"The women whose nucleus accumbens responded more strongly to pictures of food  were the ones most likely to gain weight over the next six months…It turned out that women with a stronger nucleus accumbens reaction to erotic images were more likely to report at least one sexual partner during the six months following the brain scans. A strong nucleus accumbens reaction was also linked with more sexual desire, as reported on questionnaires."

It seems pretty intuitive that people who respond strongly to images would want to have said images more. Is it because they're seeing the pictures, or because they have a strong reaction to food and sex to begin with? Well, Dartmouth says that's not really the point.

"Importantly, these reactions were behavior-specific. Weight gain was linked only with a nucleus accumbens response to food pictures, not to sexy images or neutral environmental scenes. And sexual desire and activity were linked only to the response to sexy pictures. That means specific temptations, not just an overactive nucleus accumbens, trigger these behaviors."

Good to know. Next time, I think they should just try this: show horny people pictures of food, and hungry people pictures of sex. Let's solve this whole which-is-better-food-or-sex rivalry once and for all. Or we could just do like George Costanza, and make it all one delicious sandwich. 

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