Have you ever gone to a restaurant with a friend and thought everything was so, so delicious, but then you go to the restaurant alone the next week or get take-out to eat alone, and there's just something missing?
Maybe there were just different kitchen-staff cooking the food, but it also could have been because of the phenomenon of social facilitation of eating.
It's a pretty well-documented phenomenon where people eat more and report food tasting better when eating with other people.
The Man In The Mirror Thinks The Risotto Is Delicious
Recently, researchers in Japan were trying to figure out what the minimum requirement for the social facilitation of eating is.
They found people ate more and reported food tasting better when they ate in front of a reflection of themselves, as compared to when they ate in front of a monitor showing them a picture of a wall.
They initially conducted the experiment with older adults, since studies have shown that many elderly people eat alone, but when they did the same test with young adult volunteers, the results were the same.
Researchers found that even setting up a photo of yourself, like a selfie, can also influence your response to having a meal.
Sources And Further Reading:
- Nagoya University. "Lost your appetite? Try inviting yourself to dinner." ScienceDaily. (accessed September 14, 2017)
- Ryuzaburo Nakata, Nobuyuki Kawai. The "social" facilitation of eating without the presence of others: Self-reflection on eating makes food taste better and people eat more. Physiology & Behavior, 2017; 179: 23 DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.05.022