You Are What You Eat

The following is an excerpt of Charlie Gibson's GMA interview with Dr. Alan Hirsch — a psychiatrist who believes that the flavor ice cream you eat determines the type of person you are.

CHARLES GIBSON: You've heard the old expression 'You are what you eat.' You're about to meet a psychiatrist who says 'You are what ice cream you eat.' He says you can tell someone's personality from the flavor of ice cream they most prefer. He's written a book called "What Flavor Is Your Personality?" He is Dr. Alan Hirsch. And you've tested this thesis, right?


Well, that's right. We looked at 18,631 people sponsored by Edy Dreyers Ice Cream. What we did is we looked at personality types. We did MMPIs, MCMIs…...

GIBSON: What do all those initials mean?

HIRSCH: All personality tests, and we were able to categorize their personality type. Then we looked at their food preferences and which ice cream they liked the most. And we were able to collate them together, very much like a projected test.

GIBSON: Did you do a CC test on them?


GIBSON: That's chocolate chip.

HIRSCH: Well, it's like a projective test like a Rorschach. You just look at the inkblot and you say, 'This looks like either a butterfly or a bat,' and depending on how you interpret it, you're able to gain insight into their personality. And we did the same thing with ice creams.

GIBSON: OK. And I told you that I like natural mint chocolate chip.

HIRSCH: Yeah, that's right.

GIBSON: What does that mean?

HIRSCH: Well, people who like mint chocolate chip are very much like those who like chocolate chip.

GIBSON: Right.

HIRSCH: They tend to be very success-oriented and driven, achievement-oriented. They're also generous and charming in social situations, but they're the conquerors — the leaders of industry.

GIBSON: Well, let's go over that again. Charming in social situations, and what else?

HIRSCH: Generous.

GIBSON: Generous. Right.



HIRSCH: Achievement-oriented, successful —

GIBSON: Achievement-oriented. Successful. Thank you very much.

HIRSCH: Those who were voted most likely to succeed in school for instance.

GIBSON: Oh, this test is perfect. It's absolutely perfect.

HIRSCH: They're also most romantically compatible…

GIBSON: Absolutely.

HIRSCH: …with people who like caramel or butter pecan.

GIBSON: Do you like butter pecan?

DIANE SAWYER: No. I hate butter pecan. I do. I like caramel, but I like caramel that tastes like vanilla with caramel in it.

GIBSON: What's that say about her?

HIRSCH: Well, people who like caramel with vanilla are very much like those who like butter pecan…

GIBSON: Right.

HIRSCH: …similar personality types. And they're perfectionists.

GIBSON: Romantically inclined toward chocolate chip.

HIRSCH: They have very high ideals and standards. They have high scruples, integrity.


HIRSCH: They also…

SAWYER: So they have good legs?

HIRSCH: They sometimes avoid saying what they truly mean so they don't hurt other people's feelings. And they are, but they are a 'take charge' sort of person.

GIBSON: Oh, that's for sure.

SAWYER: That makes Antonio and me, right?

ANTONIO MORA: Yeah, I used to be a cookies-and-cream kind of guy until I found this dulce la leche and caramel. This is it. This is it. Have you tried this flavor?

GIBSON: Yes, I have. There is not a kind of ice cream I have not had.

PERKINS: Antonio actually likes most flavors. I'm chocolate. How about chocolate?

MORA: I have them all here, Tony.

HIRSCH: People who like chocolate are like those who like chocolate chip, and what they are is they tend to be extroverts. They tend to be exciting. They crave novelty, and they like to be the center of attention. They're theatrical, and they are most romantically compatible with people who like strawberries and cream.

PERKINS: Oh, but I'll have to check on that and make sure that's what she likes.

GIBSON: Now tell me, what if you just like plain old vanilla?

HIRSCH: Well, you know, you'd think vanilla would be a blah personality. We found it was just the opposite. People who like vanilla are exciting, energetic. They're the life of the party.

GIBSON: Vanilla lovers out here, raise your hands. (Yells heard from the crowd)

GIBSON: Lots of lifes of the party here. Chocolate lovers? (Yells heard from the crowd)

GIBSON: Is there some flavor where the people are just schlumps?

HIRSCH: Well, each one has a different perspective, but people who like banana cream pie are — they're empathic, understanding, they are the perfect spouse or parents. As a matter of fact, I changed my favorite preference to banana cream pie after we did the study.

GIBSON: You did? Just because you liked the personality? They're eating my chocolate chip!

SAWYER: That's because you're generous.

PERKINS: I want to be better in social situations.

GIBSON: Maybe not so generous when it comes to giving away the chocolate chip. Dr. Hirsch, thank you very much. It's been fun. Appreciate it.

HIRSCH: Thank you.