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Portion size me: Plate-size induced consumption norms and education futility

Wansink, B. & van Ittersum, K., Dec-2013, In : Journal of experimental psychology-Applied. 19, 4, p. 320-332 13 p.

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  • Portion size me Plate-size induced consumption norms and education futility

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DOI

Research on the self-serving of food has empirically ignored the role that visual consumption norms play in determining how much food we serve on different sized dinnerware. We contend that dinnerware provides a visual anchor of an appropriate fill-level, which in turn, serves as a consumption norm (Study 1). The trouble with these dinnerware-suggested consumption norms is that they vary directly with dinnerware size-Study 2 shows Chinese buffet diners with large plates served 52% more, ate 45% more, and wasted 135% more food than those with smaller plates. Moreover, education does not appear effective in reducing such biases. Even a 60-min, interactive, multimedia warning on the dangers of using large plates had seemingly no impact on 209 health conference attendees, who subsequently served nearly twice as much food when given a large buffet plate 2 hr later (Study 3). These findings suggest that people may have a visual plate-fill level-perhaps 70% full-that they anchor on when determining the appropriate consumption norm and serving themselves. Study 4 suggests that the Delboeuf illusion offers an explanation why people do not fully adjust away from this fill-level anchor and continue to be biased across a large range of dishware sizes. These findings have surprisingly wide-ranging win-win implications for the welfare of consumers as well as for food service managers, restaurateurs, packaged goods managers, and public policy officials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-332
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of experimental psychology-Applied
Volume19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2013

    Keywords

  • optical illusions, consumption norms, Delboeuf, serving size, plate size, food waste, DELBOEUF ILLUSIONS, BRIGHTNESS CONTRAST, VISUAL ILLUSIONS, EATING BEHAVIOR, VOLUME, ASSIMILATION, CONSUMERS, INCREASE, OBESITY, CONTOUR

ID: 2297428