The portion size of foods has been identified as an important environmental factor known to affect short-term energy intake. Experiments that were conducted both in the free-living environment and in laboratory-based settings to investigate the effects of portion size on energy intake unanimously showed that as the portion size of food increased, so did subjects' energy intake. Despite the fact that the profound effects of portion size on energy intake are well documented, the mechanisms by which portion size affects energy intake are poorly understood. There is some evidence that sensory influences (e.g. visual and olfactory cues), cognitive factors (e.g. learning, social norms, monetary considerations), and post-ingestive consequences (e.g. sensations of hunger and fullness) related to the portion size of foods may interact to affect the amount of food that is consumed during a meal.