Dinner party tips: part 2

More psychology tips for your dinner party, including why a hot bowl makes the world seem a better place...
27 June 2016

Interview with 

Professor Charles Spence, University of Oxford


Pots of cooked food


Head of the crossmodal research lab in Oxford University, Professor Charles Spencebowl is back with more tips on improving your dining experience,  and on why size is important when it come to how full you feel...

Charles - If you're aiming to try and satisfy with a little bit less, then think about serving off a smaller plate because it will trick your brain into looking like there's more food there, rather than one of those big American style plates where the food looks tiny as a result.

I've recently been very interested in this growing trend towards bowl food. You kind of think what's going on there but it's tied with the healthy eating and it's partly about if food is in a bowl,  then you're more likely to pick it off the table, hold it in you hands and feel the weight of the bowl, maybe feel it's texture, that can then enhance the experience. You're more likely to sniff the aromas coming off the food if you're holding that bowl to your face and, again, those food aromas are a key part of the experience and can help you to feel fuller on less. Also a bowl without a rim say, then the food's going to fill almost to the very edge of the bowl and hence, that again, will trick your brain into looking like there's more food. And the final advantage of the bowl, at least for hot food is comes from the social psychology research showing that if you hold something warm in your hand like a warm bowl of food or a cup of tea or coffee, then the world generally looks like a better place and everything around you looks warmer too. This kind of transfer of attributes from what you hold in your hand to elsewhere.


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