Eating with our eyes: Why people eat less at unbused tables

April 9, 2007

People watching the Super Bowl who saw how much they had already eaten -- in this case, leftover chicken-wing bones -- ate 27 percent less than people who had no such environmental cues, finds a new Cornell study.

The difference between the two groups -- those eating at a table where leftover bones accumulated compared with those whose leftovers were removed -- was greater for men than for women.

"The results suggest that people restrict their consumption when evidence of food consumed is available to signal how much food they have eaten," said Brian Wansink, the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing and of Applied Economics at Cornell, and author of the 2006 book, "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think."

The study, conducted with Cornell postdoctoral researcher Collin R. Payne, is published in the April issue of Perceptual and Motor Skills. It included 50 graduate students at a sports bar where an open buffet featured chicken wings during the Super Bowl; some tables were bused and some were left unbused.

To use environmental cues to curb overeating and overdrinking, Wansink suggested that college parties could encourage (or require) fresh plastic glasses for each drink and that the glasses be stacked as they accumulate for each person; dinner parties could use fresh glasses for refills while empty glasses, or even empty bottles, are left on the table.

Source: Cornell University

Explore further: Over the limit: Size, shape and color of wine glass affect how much you pour

Related Stories

Trimming super-size with half-orders, plate colors

February 13, 2012

(AP) -- Call it the alter-ego of super-sizing. Researchers infiltrated a fast-food Chinese restaurant and found up to a third of diners jumped at the offer of a half-size of the usual heaping pile of rice or noodles - even ...

Mindless eating: Losing weight without thinking

August 5, 2011

Dieters may not need as much willpower as they think, if they make simple changes in their surroundings that can result in eating healthier without a second thought, said a consumer psychologist at the American Psychological ...

Use a rule of thumb to control how much you drink

August 22, 2014

Sticking to a general rule of pouring just a half glass of wine limits the likelihood of overconsumption, even for men with a higher body mass index. That's the finding of a new Iowa State and Cornell University study to ...

Helpful hints, and an illusion, for healthy holiday eating

November 22, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—The average person consumes about 4,000 calories on Thanksgiving, two times the amount that an average person needs. And that's just the start of a holiday season full of parties, dinners and get-togethers.

Implied motion improves food evaluation

August 18, 2015

Think you'd like the food on your plate more if it was moving? Off-hand, your mind might go to images of worms and other small critters - an unappealing proposition. But a new study by researchers Yaniv Gvili, Moty Amar, ...

Recommended for you

Study shows blood products unaffected by drone trips

December 7, 2016

In what is believed to be the first proof-of-concept study of its kind, Johns Hopkins researchers have determined that large bags of blood products, such as those transfused into patients every day, can maintain temperature ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.