Share a meal with someone and you are both likely to mimic each other's behavior and take bites at the same time rather than eating at your own pace, says a study published in the Feb. 2 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE.
This behavior was found to be more prominent at the beginning of an interaction than at the end. This study, led by Roel Hermans of Radboud University Nijmegen of the Netherlands, provides some insight into the previously established phenomenon that the overall amount of food people eat is correlated with the intake of their eating companion.
The researchers observed the behavior of 70 pairs of young women eating together and recorded their bites, which totaled almost 4,000. They then analyzed whether people mimicked each other's food intake.
Hermans RCJ, Lichtwarck-Aschoff A, Bevelander KE, Herman CP, Larsen JK, et al. (2012) Mimicry of Food Intake: The Dynamic Interplay between Eating Companions. PLoS ONE 7(2): e31027. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031027