Study: You eat more or less depending whom you’re eating with and they can influence you twice as much

Several factors influence one’s meal, such as lighting,  music, venue, or how food is served and more others.

Now it goes out even the physical appearance of your dining companions has vital a role in what and how much you eat. According to an investigation by food psychology researchers, the amount of food your dining companion consumes can influence how much you consume. Now they’ve discovered just how powerful the effect of eating with others can be.

Certainly, you are more likely to eat less if the person you’re dining with consumes a small meal.

When dining with a companion who is large eater, you won’t automatically match the intake, but you feel like you can eat as much as you like.

An associate professor at the University of NSW, Dr. Lenny Vartanian said, “In those cases, people eat around the same amount as they would if they were eating by themselves.”

The team examined almost 40 studies, and found the influence of “social modelling” on a person’s food intake is almost twice as powerful on a person’s consumption as controlling their portion sizes, which gets a lot of media attention.


“I’m not downplaying the importance of portion size, but the magnitude of the effect found that [social modelling] is about twice the size of the effect you get from portion size,” he said.

He added that people should consider the influence of their companion’s eating behavior as important as portion size.

Most surprising was how influential conforming to social norms could be compared to the body’s own hunger signals. In a study where participants weren’t fed for hours, those people dining with small eaters would still eat less than if they were eating alone or with a generous eater.

“Even when you have this very strong drive to satisfy your hunger, we still follow the social norm in those cases,” he said.

Several studies suggest women are more influenced by others than men. This may be because women tend to be more concerned about how they are viewed by others when they are eating, said Dr Vartanian, whose review is circulated in the scientific journal Social Influence.





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