"Obesity is obviously a tremendous public health concern," write authors Brent McFerran, Darren W. Dahl (both University of British Columbia), Gavan J. Fitzsimons (Duke University), and Andrea C. Morales (Arizona State University). "We decided to investigate how someone's size and food choices could influence how much the people around them eat."
The researchers recruited 210 college students to participate in a study that was ostensibly about movie watching. The participants were told they would be paired with another student taking place in the study. The other student was actually a member of the research team whose natural build was thin (size 0, 105 pounds). But at times this same researcher donned an "obesity prosthesis," which made her appear to be a size 16 and 180 pounds.
All of the students were offered snacks while viewing film clips. The undercover researcher was served first, and helped herself to either a large or small serving before the student participant was offered the same bowl of food. In all cases, the amount of food the students accepted was influenced by the portion size chosen by the undercover researcher, regardless of her size.
"Most participants took a portion similar to what the researcher served herself," the authors explain. "However, it is clear that how much food each person took, and how much they ate depended on whether their companion was thin or obese."
Participants tended to mimic the thin companion's portion sizes. But when they presumed the researcher to be obese, the participants adjusted the amounts they ate. "This indicates that people are influenced, even without being aware of it, by other people's portion choices," the authors write.
"Our findings indicate that the size of the person you dine with matters much less than the size of the meal they order," the authors write. "If a heavy-set colleague eats a lot, you are likely to adjust your behavior and eat less. But a thin friend who eats a lot may lead you to eat more than you normally would."
Brent McFerran, Darren W. Dahl, Gavan J. Fitzsimons, and Andrea C. Morales. "I'll have What She's Having: Effects of Social Influence and Body Type on the Food Choices of Others." Journal of Consumer Research: April 2010 (published online August 25, 2009).
Mary-Ann Twist | EurekAlert!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences