What your favorite sandwich says about you
July 21, 2009 -- Americans are no strangers to sandwiches. It's estimated that nearly 40 billion sandwiches are consumed in the U.S. every year.
That's approximately 131 sandwiches per person. Sandwiches fill us, fuel us and comfort us. But a new study suggests that sandwich choices can actually uncover insights into our passions, personalities and even our romantic compatibilities. Conducted by Dr. Alan Hirsch of the Chicago-based Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation (www.scienceofsmell.com), the study asked participants to select their favorite sandwich from eight popular sandwiches; then their choices were compared with common personality traits of those who made similar sandwich choices.
For example, according to the study, egg salad aficionados don't just value a protein-packed meal, but usually seek extra attention -- they are often the life of the party and "charismatic adventure seekers." Ham and cheese enthusiasts, on the other hand, are more likely to be thoughtful, inquisitive and independent without strong romantic ties.
According to Dr. Hirsch, the research looks at how an empty stomach isn't the only factor calling the shots when it comes to food selection. "There are actually a lot of other drivers at play," said Hirsch.
The study surveyed nearly 3,000 people across the country about their favorite sandwiches. The participants underwent standardized comprehensive psychiatric and personality tests to identify their character traits and behaviors. By comparing the personality test results and survey responses, the study revealed a strong correlation between sandwich choices and personality traits. Here are the results of the Sandwich Report:
The Club: Individuals who prefer the Club sandwich are often agreeable and unselfish. Club sandwich eaters are reliable and strongly devoted to work as well as relationships. The best words to describe those who prefer the club sandwich: committed and loyal. Club sandwich fans are most compatible with those who chose Club, BLT, or turkey.
Ham and Cheese: Ham and cheese sandwich lovers are curious and have a wide range of interests. They are most productive and creative when working alone without direct supervision. The best words to describe those who prefer the ham and cheese sandwich: thoughtful and inquisitive. Ham and cheese sandwich lovers are often independent without strong romantic ties.
Turkey: Those who prefer the turkey sandwich are free-thinkers. They function best when given space at work and in relationships. The best words to describe those who prefer the turkey sandwich: creative and rebellious. Turkey sandwich lovers are often attracted to other turkey sandwich lovers.
Tuna Salad: Tuna salad sandwich eaters are generally aggressive and achievement-oriented. They are natural leaders and driven to succeed in both work and personal relationships. The best words to describe those who prefer the tuna salad sandwich: competitive and successful. They are most romantically compatible with those who prefer egg salad and others who also like tuna salad.
Egg Salad: Egg salad enthusiasts are often the center of attention. They are entertaining and crave adventure. The best words to describe those who prefer egg salad sandwich: charming and energetic. Egg salad sandwich lovers are the "universal romantic" and they are often compatible with all sandwich lovers.
Chicken Salad: Individuals that prefer the chicken salad sandwich are well-adjusted and empathic. The best words to describe those who prefer chicken salad sandwich: easy-going and understanding. They are most romantically compatible with those preferring egg salad sandwiches.
Seafood Salad: Similar to those who prefer the Club sandwich, seafood salad sandwich fans are described as agreeable and unselfish. They seek comfort in close, secure relationships. The best words to describe those who prefer seafood sandwich: commitment and loyalty. They are most romantically compatible with those who prefer the BLT or seafood salad sandwich.
Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato: BLT lovers are conscientious perfectionists. They are devoted in all areas of their lives: work, home and relationships. The best words to describe those who prefer the BLT sandwich: honest and full of integrity. BLT sandwich lovers are most compatible with those who prefer seafood salad sandwich.
The Sandwich Report was sponsored by Hellmann's and Best Foods; it is part of the brand's www.BuildThePerfectSandwich program. The goal is to help American's bring the brown-bag staple from standby to standout. The interactive Web site www.BuildThePerfectSandwich features a "sandwich recommender," which requires visitors to answer six simple questions that measure current mood, habits and what's happening in their lives. From there, the site tabulates the results and recommends the perfect sandwich recipe. The site also includes several recipes that offer a "twist" to everyday favorites like the cheddar-apple ham and cheese sandwich and the avocado tuna melt.
Hellmann's and Best Foods Mayonnaise's www.BuildThePerfectSandwich.com features information on how to create the perfect sandwich for any personality type. Visitors can enjoy how-to videos and tutorials featuring critically acclaimed chef, restaurateur, author and TV personality Bobby Flay, sandwich-making tips, recipes and more.
About the Survey
The Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation conducted a survey of 2,747 adults between 3/1/09 and 5/31/09. The survey regarded basic demographic sandwich hedonics, dichotomy of a forced choice self-assessment of presence or absence of happiness. Participants also completed standardized comprehensive psychiatric and personality tests, including the Million Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III (MCMI-III), Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2), Beck Depression Inventory, Zung Anxiety and Zung Depression Test batteries. DSM-IV-TR" diagnoses were determined and statistically correlated with sandwich hedonics, with significance defined as p<0.05. To facilitate lay understanding, these were delineated in informal language. In addition, sandwich hedonic preferences of the spouses of the subjects who were married for more than one year were obtained. This subgroup functioned as a marker for stable romantic relationships. These spouse preferences were also analyzed in comparison to the probands' sandwich hedonics assessing statistically significant correlation (p<0.05).
About the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation
The Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation specializes in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of smell and taste-related disorders. In addition, the staff's research extends to the effects of odors and flavors on human emotion, mood, behavior and disease states. For more information, visit http://www.scienceofsmell.com/
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