At an icecream dinner party the question came up whether women actually like chocolate more than men. Stereotypes are known to often be correct, so i was curius. Quoting from Pinker’s The Blank Slate:

The idea that stereotypes are inherently irrational owes more to a condescension toward ordinary
people than it does to good psychological research. Many researchers, having shown that
stereotypes existed in the minds of their subjects, assumed that the stereotypes had to be
irrational, because they were uncomfortable with the possibility that some trait might be
statistically true of some group. They never actually checked. That began to change in the 1980s,
and now a fair amount is known about the accuracy of stereotypes.14

With some important exceptions, stereotypes are in fact  not  inaccurate when assessed against
objective benchmarks such as census figures or the reports of the stereotyped people themselves.
People who believe that African Americans are more likely to be on welfare than whites, that
Jews have higher average incomes than WASPs, that business students are more conservative
than students in the arts, that women are more likely than men to want to lose weight, and that
men are more likely than women to swat a fly with their bare hands, are not being irrational or
bigoted. Those beliefs are correct. People’s stereotypes are generally consistent with the
statistics, and in many cases their bias is to underestimate the real differences between sexes or
ethnic groups.15 This does not mean that the stereotyped traits are unchangeable, of course, or
that people think they are unchangeable, only that people perceive the traits fairly accurately at
the time.

Moreover, even when people believe that ethnic groups have characteristic  traits, they are never
mindless stereotypers who literally believe that each and every member of the group possesses
those traits. People may think that Germans are, on average, more efficient than non-Germans,
but no one believes that every last German is more efficient than every non-German.16 And
people have no trouble overriding a stereotype when they have good information about an
individual. Contrary to a common accusation, teachers‘ impressions of their individual pupils are
not contaminated by their stereotypes of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. The teachers‘
impressions accurately reflect the pupil’s performance as measured by objective tests.17

Now for the important exceptions. Stereotypes can be downright inaccurate when a person has
few or no firsthand encounters with the stereotyped   {205}  group, or belongs to a group that is
overtly hostile to the one being judged. During World War II, when the Russians were allies of
the United States and the Germans were enemies, Americans judged Russians to have more
positive traits than Germans. Soon afterward, when the alliances reversed, Americans judged
Germans to have more positive traits than Russians.18

Also, people’s ability to set aside stereotypes when judging  an individual is accomplished by
their conscious, deliberate reasoning. When people are distracted or put under pressure to
respond quickly, they are more likely to judge that a member of an ethnic group has all the
stereotyped traits of the group.19  This comes from the two-part design of the human
categorization system mentioned earlier. Our network of fuzzy associations naturally reverts to a
stereotype when we  first encounter an individual. But our rule-based categorizer can block out
those associations and make deductions based on the relevant facts about that individual. It can
do so either for practical reasons, when information about a group-wide average is  less
diagnostic than information about the individual, or for social and moral reasons, out of respect
for the imperative that one  ought  to ignore certain group-wide averages when judging an

The upshot of this research is not that stereotypes  are always accurate but that they are not
always false, or even usually false. This is just what we would expect if human categorization —
like the rest of the mind —  is an adaptation that keeps track of aspects of the world that are
relevant to our long-term well-being. As the social psychologist Roger Brown pointed out, the
main difference between categories of people and categories of other things is that when you use
a prototypical exemplar to stand for a category of things, no one takes offense. When Webster’s
dictionary used a sparrow to stand for all birds, ―emus and ostriches and penguins and eagles did
not go on the attack.‖ But just imagine what would have happened if Webster’s had used a
picture of a soccer mom to illustrate woman and a picture of a business executive to illustrate
man. Brown remarks, ―Of course, people would be right to take offense since a prototype can
never represent the variation that exists in natural categories. It’s just that birds don’t care but
people do.” 20

What are the implications of the fact that many stereotypes are statistically accurate? One is that
contemporary scientific research on sex differences cannot be dismissed just because some of the
findings are consistent with traditional stereotypes of men and women. Some parts of those
stereotypes may be false, but the mere fact that they are stereotypes does not prove that they are
false in every respect.

and so on. What about women and chocolate?

Chocolate craving and liking


Liking  and  craving  for  chocolate  and  related  substances  were  surveyed  in  a
sample  of  University  of Pennsylvania  undergraduates  (n = 249)  and  their  parents
(n=  319).  Chocolate  was  highly  liked  in  all  groups,  with  a  stronger  liking  by
females.  Chocolate  is  the  most  craved  food  among  females,  and  is  craved  by
almost  half  of  the  female  sample  (in  both  age  groups).  Although  this  craving  is
related  to  a  sweet  craving,  it  cannot  be  accounted  for  as  a  craving  for  sweets.
About  half  of  the  female  cravers  show  a  very  well  defined  craving  peak  for
chocolate  in  the  perimenstrual  period,  beginning  from  a  few days  before  the  onset
of  menses  and  extending  into  the  first  few  days  of  menses.  There  is  not  a
significant  relation  in  chocolate  craving  or  liking  between  parents  and  their
children.  The  current  motivation  for  chocolate  preference  seems  to  be  primarily,
if not  entirely,  sensory.  Liking  for  chocolate  correlates  significantly  with  liking  for
sweets  and  white  chocolate.  The  liking  for  the  sensory  properties  could  originate
in  innate  or  acquired  liking  based  on  the  sweetness,  texture  and  aroma  of
chocolate,  or  it  could  be based  in  part  on  interactions  between  the  postingestional
effects  of  chocolate  and  a  person’s  state  (e.g.,  mood,  hormone  levels).  Based  on
correlational  data,  we  find  little  evidence  for  a  relation  between  addiction  to
chocolate  or  the  pharmacological  (e.g.,  xanthine-based)  effects  of  chocolate  and
the  liking  for  chocolate.

Below are most of the result tables from the study.

So, 1) the difference is real, 2) it is somewhat due to the menstruation cyclus, but apparently not entirely.

Sweets , chocolate , and atypical depressive traits fixd


An original questionnaire, the Foods and Moods Inventory (FMI) was used to investigate
appetite for sweets and chocolate and its relationship to dysphoric mood. The FMI was
administered to a group of subjects with an identified interest in chocolate (chocolate group,
N = 73), a comparison sample (comparison group,  N = 172), and a sample of former
alcoholics (iV = 22). Those who reported “self-medicating” with sweets or chocolate were
more likely to have personality traits associated with hysteroid dysphoria, an atypical
depressive syndrome. In addition, the tendency to eat compulsively, in general, and appetite
for sweets and chocolate, in particular, were significantly greater among women.

From the study:

Gender and Appetite for Sweets/Chocolate
A relationship between gender and craving for
sweets and/or chocolate was shown in the finding that
92% of the self-medicators were women. Although
65.2% of the entire sample were women, this was still
a highly significant gender-related difference (x2 =
17.5,  df = 1,  p < .0001). Moreover, in all subjects
combined, women were found to have significantly
higher scores than men on the Sweets, Chocolate, and
Eating Scales as well as marginally higher scores on
the Hys Dys Scale (Table 3).
Using analyses of variance to further explore the
relationship between gender, group, and the four FMI
scales, a significant main effect for gender was con­
firmed for the Sweets, Chocolate, and Eating Scales
but not the Hys Dys Scale. In this analysis, the main
effect for gender on Hys Dys fell below the level of
statistical significance and a significant group by gen­
der interaction emerged, with women higher on Hys
Dys in the comparison and alcoholic groups but  not
in the chocolate group. Although it is difficult to
interpret this interaction, it would appear in any case
that the higher Hys Dys scores of self-medicators
probably cannot be attributed to the disproportionate
number of women in this group. Indeed, an analysis
among women alone confirmed that self-medicators
had higher scores on Hys Dys as well as on the other
FMI scales.

It seems that the answer to the question posed in the title is: Yes, women like chocolate more than men. The reasons being somewhat more speculative, but perhaps having to do with hormone levels in the menstruation cyclus.


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