So, your significant other takes you for granted — and you think you might want to make him a little bit jealous, just to send a message. One way to do it would be to spend an hour with an ex.
If you really want to make him green with envy, make sure there’s a meal involved.
At least, that’s what new research, published Wednesday in the journal PLoS One, seems to suggest.
“Do people believe that sharing food might involve sharing more than just food?” asked coauthors Kevin Kniffin and Brian Wansink, both of Cornell University, in the report.
According to study leader Kniffin, who spoke briefly with The Times on Wednesday, the answer appears to be yes.
When he asked undergraduates to rate how jealous they would be when faced with a series of six hypothetical vignettes involving a mate meeting up with a former romantic partner for an hour — spending the time corresponding through email, talking on the phone or having a late-morning coffee, a lunch, a late-afternoon coffee or a dinner — the students' responses indicated that meals elicit more jealousy than the other face-to-face interactions that did not involve food.
Phone conversations provoked more envy than e-mailing. Meals sparked more jealousy than coffees. A second study, asking how jealous respondents' best friends might become when faced with the same six hypotheticals, garnered similar results.