Briefs: Mirrored eating

  • Article by: Los Angeles Times
  • Updated: August 4, 2012 - 5:54 PM

Eating with someone else may lead to your taking bites at the same time.

The next time you're sitting across from someone, both of you eating, take note: Are you taking bites at the same time?

You might be, a study finds. Researchers from the Netherlands and Toronto looked at eating behavior among 70 pairs of young women who ate a 20-minute meal together. Would they eat in sync as they mimicked each other's actions?

Mimicked bites were considered those that were taken within five seconds of each other. Behavioral mimicry is when a person unintentionally imitates another's behavior.

The researchers determined that overall the women did mimic each other. However, that was more likely to happen in the first 10 minutes of the experiment. The paired women also ate about the same amount.

The findings could have implications for altering eating behavior, the authors said: "It would be interesting to replicate this study by using a different eating context in which, for example, individuals sometimes reach for palatable foods such as chips or sweets," they wrote. "If perceiving a nearby individual reaching for a snack results in a matched action, this might provide potential areas for interventions to prevent overconsumption of snack food."

LOS ANGELES TIMES

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WASHINGTON POST

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