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

Apr 09, 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: Applying visual techniques to med school lessons

Related Stories

Can kitchen spoons be dangerous spoons?

Jan 04, 2010

\A new study published in the Jan. 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine illustrates the dangers of using kitchen spoons to measure liquid medicine.

Alcohol Over-pouring Caused by Short Glass Shapes

Dec 23, 2005

Your eyes can play tricks when it comes to pouring drinks. People – even professional bartenders – inadvertently pour 20 to 30 percent more alcohol into short, wide glasses than tall, slender ones of the same volume, ...

Recommended for you

European court to rule on right-to-die case

17 hours ago

Europe's human rights court will on June 5 rule on whether a man in a vegetative state can be taken off life support, a case that has ignited a fierce euthanasia debate in France, a spokesman said Thursday.

Mechanical ventilation associated with long-term disability

May 19, 2015

Critically ill patients who have been mechanically ventilated for more than seven days are at greatly increased risk for functional impairment and mortality at one year following discharge from the intensive care unit (ICU), ...

User comments : 0

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.