Observers made people eat often and small portions

When people see potential competitors for food, they switch into portions that are easier to produce, and eat more frequently reported in Royal Society Open Science. This is probably done to others begging produced. Similarly, the act and other organisms.

To get food in a group can be advantageous: the presence of others reduces the likelihood to be eaten by predators. There are drawbacks: relatives may take away the food, steal it or beg. Therefore, the behavioural researchers believe that many species eat different when doing it alone or with someone. In the latter case, animals take some action to of found them got them and not someone else.

Earlier, Japanese scientists headed by Yukiko Oguro from Hokkaido University found that chickens peck feed more oftenif they see other chickens, even when separated from them by a transparent barrier. Ogura now, working at the University of Tokyo, decided to continue studying the same topics, but with people.

To do this, her group attracted 59 volunteers (29 men), ostensibly to participate in the taste testing of potato chips. All were divided into three groups: those who tasted the chips alone; those who did it at the same table with the second subjects; those on whom the second subject was separated by the opaque screen. A couple of tasters did, and same-sex and opposite-sex, since human behavior can differ depending on who is in front of him — a man or a woman.

Each subject was evaluated three times the taste offer him chips. Each evaluation session lasted for three minutes. The researchers noted how often people take new pieces and how much they weighed. For this they used a scale, hidden from the eyes of the subjects. Initially on each plate were 30 grams of chips. Volunteers were asked not to eat at least two hours before the experiment — it is possible to reduce the influence of satiety on the result.

It turned out that the subjects often take chips when you know that next to them is someone else — even if it is separated by a screen. The mass portions, they are grabbing at a time, less. The total weight eaten not higher than when a person eats alone. Theoretically, the social awkwardness (“you need to take less, not to think I’m greedy”), or the mediocre taste of the chips could explain it. However, the portion size did not depend on the subjective evaluation that the subjects gave to the food.

Could be that the people in front of others just distracted and therefore take fewer chips at a time — that is their choice random, and they fall under the arm chips are the most typical mass. To test this, the authors weighed each piece of product from a hundred packs, looked at the mass distribution in these slices compared with what happened during the experiments. It turned out that the closest to the random selection of those who tasted the food alone, and more likely — those who saw the second test at the same table.

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