Ryuzaburo Nakata (Ryuzaburo Nakata) from Nagoya University and his colleagues conducted a study of the phenomenon of social facilitation with regard to food intake – it is known that in the company people eat more and the food seems to them more delicious. The initial task was to find a way to improve the quality of life of the elderly, who often live alone. It turned out that this effect is observed in people who see themselves in the mirror while eating, and even if they have a picture of a person eating them, regardless of age. The researchers described their results in detail in an article published in the journal Physiology & Behavior .
“We wanted to know what are the minimum conditions for social facilitation,” said Rüzaburo Nakata. – Should another person be physically present or is there enough information hinting at the presence of others? “. The researchers found that food seemed tastier to people and they ate more when they could see themselves in the mirror, compared to when they ate in front of the monitor displaying the image of the wall.
Initially, the research team worked with a group of elderly volunteers. The study of ways to improve the perception of food in people eating alone is especially relevant for the elderly, because studies have shown that many often eat alone. However, the group then repeated the experiment with young volunteers, and the effect was also observed in the presence of a mirror, which indicates that the case is not confined to the elderly.
In another experiment, when researchers replaced the mirror with photos of volunteers, they found that volunteers were still experiencing an increase in the attractiveness of food and eating more. Thus, to some surprise, it turned out that even a static image of a person eating food is sufficient for the emergence of the effect of social facilitation.
[Image: Nagoya University ]
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