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The Influence of Bite Size on Quantity of Food Consumed: A Field Study

Arul Mishra, Himanshu Mishra, Tamara M. Masters
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/660838 791-795 First published online: 1 February 2012

Abstract

While research has extensively investigated how portion sizes can influence the quantity of food consumed, relatively little work has been done to explore how bite size influences overall consumption. This research seeks to address this concern. In a field study, we collected data in a restaurant and manipulated bite size by providing diners with small or large forks. We found that diners consumed more from smaller rather than larger forks. Utilizing motivation literature, which ties into the unique factors present in a restaurant consumption setting (e.g., diners have a well-defined goal of hunger satiation because they invest effort by visiting a specific restaurant, choose from a menu, and pay money for the meal), we present our rationale for the pattern of results. Moreover, in a controlled lab study we demonstrate that when these factors are absent, the pattern of results is reversed.

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