Forget massages, soothing music or aromatherapy. If you want to calm down a stressed-out man, just show him a few photos of meat. Preferably just-cooked hunks of beef filet, lamb chop and T-bone steaks, still sizzling and etched with blackened grill marks. Okay, perhaps not those exact cuts of meat, but researchers at McGill University in Canada did find that images of meat actually calmed men down and made them less aggressive.
According to AOLNews,
"Researchers told 82 male subjects they were studying multitasking. The subjects were asked to sort through stacks of pictures while simultaneously following an actor reading a script. When the actor screwed up a line, the subjects inflicted varying degrees of punishment on the actor, in the form of loud noises. The highest-volume sounds were believed by the subjects to be painful to the actors. The study found that the subjects were less likely to choose to inflict pain if they were looking at a photo of cooked meat when the mistake was made."
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The researchers expected the opposite to be true; that images of meat would increase aggressive behavior in males, similar to how dogs act out when meat is taken from them. Instead, the researchers say that the sight of meat calms men down because it reminds them of friends and family at mealtime. If you think about it, the idea makes sense; "hunting" to get the meat is stressful enough, both in prehistoric and present times. Anyone who's hit up Whole Foods during the after-work rush knows this to be true.
So by the time the meat is cooked and ready to eat, you're most likely relaxed, surrounded by family and friends and ready to enjoy a satisfying meal. Or at least that's what lead researcher Frank Kachanoff believes, saying "It wouldn't be advantageous to be aggressive anymore, because you would've already used your aggression to acquire the meat, and furthermore, you'd be surrounded by people who share... your DNA."
Even though meat's calming effect has been proven, Kachanoff isn't done yet. Next up, he wants to study how images of dead animals and uncooked meat affect men. As if that's not enough, he's also planning to throw images of women into the mix, as both subjects and targets of aggression. Sounds less like a research study and more like prehistoric porn, but hey, to each his own.