Lunch with company reduces cognitive control, may increase social harmony

July 31, 2013

Lunch at a restaurant with friends reduces cognitive control more than lunch eaten alone at a desk does, according to research published July 31 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Werner Sommer from the Humboldt University at Berlin, Germany, and colleagues from other institutions.

Participants in the study either ate a solitary meal alone at their desk in a restricted amount of time, or took a short walk to a restaurant for an hour-long lunch with a friend. All meals were identical in the kind and amounts of food consumed. After the meal, people who had a restaurant lunch were calmer and less wakeful than those who ate at their desks. They also fared more poorly on performance tests of cognitive control, and neurophysiological measurements indicated decreased cognitive control of performance and error monitoring processes. Since the meals differed in many ways including the presence of a friend, environment and lack of time restrictions, the authors explain "It is impossible to specify at this point, which of the variables above are crucial for the effects observed in our study."

They add, "Reduced cognitive control is a disadvantage when close self-monitoring of performance and detailed attention to errors is required, such as in numerical processing. In other situations, an attenuation of may be advantageous, such as when social harmony or is desired."

Explore further: People who think they have eaten more feel less hungry hours after a meal

More information: Sommer W, Stürmer B, Shmuilovich O, Martin-Loeches M, Schacht A (2013) How about Lunch? Consequences of the Meal Context on Cognition and Emotion. PLOS ONE 8(7): e70314. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070314

Related Stories

People who think they have eaten more feel less hungry hours after a meal

December 5, 2012
The memory of having eaten a large meal can make people feel less hungry hours after the meal, according to research published December 5 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Jeffrey Brunstorm and colleagues from the University ...

Remember your lunch if you want to avoid afternoon snack

May 16, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Psychologists at the University of Birmingham have discovered that focussing on eating lunch and paying great attention to the food can reduce snacking in the afternoon, according to research published ...

Effect of taking smaller bites outweighs tendency to eat more when distracted

January 23, 2013
Eating while distracted generally makes people eat more without being aware of it, but reducing bite sizes may be able to counter this effect, according to new research published January 23 in the open access journal PLOS ...

Skipping breakfast may be healthy way to shed weight

July 22, 2013
If you skip breakfast, don't worry about overeating at lunch or the rest of the day, report Cornell nutritional scientists July 2 in the journal Physiology and Behavior. In fact, nixing breakfast a few times a week may be ...

Video game 'exercise' for an hour a day may enhance certain cognitive skills

March 13, 2013
Playing video games for an hour each day can improve subsequent performance on cognitive tasks that use similar mental processes to those involved in the game, according to research published March 13 in the open access journal ...

Adiposity, hyperglycemia tied to cognitive performance

February 1, 2013
(HealthDay)—Among healthy middle-aged adults, adiposity and hyperglycemia correlate with poor cognitive performance, according to a study published online Dec. 28 in Diabetes Care.

Recommended for you

In making decisions, are you an ant or a grasshopper?

July 20, 2017
In one of Aesop's famous fables, we are introduced to the grasshopper and the ant, whose decisions about how to spend their time affect their lives and future. The jovial grasshopper has a blast all summer singing and playing, ...

Perceiving oneself as less physically active than peers is linked to a shorter lifespan

July 20, 2017
Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about equally active as other people your age?

Study examines effects of stopping psychiatric medication

July 20, 2017
Despite numerous obstacles and severe withdrawal effects, long-term users of psychiatric drugs can stop taking them if they choose, and mental health care professionals could be more helpful to such individuals, according ...

New study suggests that reduced insurance coverage for mental health treatment increases costs for the seriously ill

July 19, 2017
Higher out-of-pocket costs for mental health care could have the unintended consequence of increasing the use of acute and involuntary mental health care among those suffering from the most debilitating disorders, a Harvard ...

Old antibiotic could form new depression treatment

July 19, 2017
An antibiotic used mostly to treat acne has been found to improve the quality of life for people with major depression, in a world-first clinical trial conducted at Deakin University.

Wonder why those happy memories fade? You're programmed that way

July 19, 2017
We'll always have Paris." Or will we?

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.