In Good Company: The Effect of an Eating Companion's Appearance on Food Intake

Shimizu, Mitsuru, Katie Johnson, and Brian Wansink (2014), “In Good Company: The Effect of an Eating Companion’s Appearance on Food Intake,” Appetite, 83:263-268.

21 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2014 Last revised: 29 Apr 2017

See all articles by Mitsuru Shimizu

Mitsuru Shimizu

Southern Illinois University - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

Katie Johnson

Mayo Clinic - College of Medicine and Science

Brian Wansink

Retired

Date Written: September 24, 2014

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine whether or not the presence of an overweight eating companion influences healthy and unhealthy eating behavior, and to determine if the effect is moderated by how the companion serves him- or herself. A professional actress either wore an overweight prosthesis (i.e., “fatsuit”) or did not wear one, and served herself either healthily (i.e., a small amount of pasta and a large amount of salad) or unhealthily (i.e., a large amount of pasta and a small amount of salad) for lunch. After observing her, male and female participants were asked to serve themselves pasta and salad to eat. Results demonstrated that regardless of how the confederate served, participants served and ate a larger amount of pasta when she was wearing the prosthesis than when she was not. In addition, when the confederate served herself healthily, participants served and ate a smaller amount of salad when she was wearing the prosthesis than when she was not. Consistent with the “lower health commitment” hypothesis than the “avoiding stigma” hypothesis, these results that people may eat larger portions of unhealthy food and smaller portions of healthy food when eating with an overweight person, probably because the health commitment goal is less activated. More generally, this study provides evidence that the body type of an eating companion, as well as whether she serves herself healthily or unhealthily, influences the quantity of food intake.

Keywords: Overweight Eating Companion, Food Intake, Health Commitment Goal, Stigma, Healthy Eating, Unhealthy Eating

Suggested Citation

Shimizu, Mitsuru and Johnson, Katie and Wansink, Brian, In Good Company: The Effect of an Eating Companion's Appearance on Food Intake (September 24, 2014). Shimizu, Mitsuru, Katie Johnson, and Brian Wansink (2014), “In Good Company: The Effect of an Eating Companion’s Appearance on Food Intake,” Appetite, 83:263-268., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2500803 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2500803

Mitsuru Shimizu (Contact Author)

Southern Illinois University - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville ( email )

1 Hairpin Drive
Edwardsville, IL 62026-1102
United States

Katie Johnson

Mayo Clinic - College of Medicine and Science ( email )

200 First Street S.W
Rochester, MN 55905
United States

Brian Wansink

Retired ( email )

607-319-0123 (Phone)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
35
Abstract Views
552
PlumX Metrics