Winter is just about over, but warm and soothing comfort foods are good all year. Why does comfort food make us feel so much better when we’re down? Research in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science shows that comfort food brings up associations of positive relationships and makes us feel less lonely.
Volunteers who thought of chicken noodle soup as comfort food had greater access to relationship related words when they ate a bowl of the soup. In a second experiment, volunteers who had secure attachment styles and wrote about comfort foods did not feel as lonely after belongingness threat (writing about a conflict with a close other).
Whether it’s soup, mashed potatoes, or warm chocolate chip cookies, comfort food fulfills our stomachs and our need to belong.