In a recent study, researchers set up shop in an Italian restaurant somewhere in the American southwest. Their goal was to see how much people would eat when given different sized forks. Instead of a normal spiked utensil, the researchers used a fork that held 20% more or 20% less food. The meals were weighed before and after the diners had eaten, and compared against the size of fork they'd been given.
The results were surprising: Those who were given larger forks ate less than those with the smaller ones. Looking to confirm their findings, the researchers took the experiment back to the lab were they presented subjects with Italian food and non-standard forks. Strangely, the researchers found they were unable to recreate the effect they observed in the restaurant. In fact, in the lab, the people with big forks ate more.
Faced with this strange situation, the researchers concluded in their results published in Journal of Consumer Research that what they observed was all about expectations. At a restaurant, researchers felt that diners were motivated by the goal of satisfying their hunger. In the lab, where the subjects weren't necessarily coming to eat, they lacked the same motivation and ate aimlessly. Conversely, in the restuarant setting, researchers believe that the small-fork diners ate more because they didn't feel like they were making progress on their meal.
So, will changing up your fork size help you eat less? Probably not. But hey, pretty interesting, right?
(Medical Xpress via Gizmodo, image via sidknee23)