Serving bowl selection biases the amount of food served

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2012 Jan-Feb;44(1):66-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2011.03.001. Epub 2011 Oct 6.


Objective: To determine how common serving bowls containing food for multiple persons influence serving behavior and consumption and whether they do so independently of satiation and food evaluation.

Methods: In this between-subjects experiment, 68 participants were randomly assigned to either a group serving pasta from a large-sized bowl (6.9-L capacity) or a medium-sized bowl (3.8-L capacity).

Results: Analysis of covariance showed that when given a large-sized bowl, diners served 77% more pasta (364.0 vs. 205.5 g; P < .01) and felt more satiated (P = .03) compared with diners given a medium-sized bowl, even though the food was not rated tastier or otherwise notable (all P > .32).

Conclusions and implications: In contrast to those in studies involving larger-sized plates and spoons, people serving from larger bowls felt more satiated. These findings again highlight the role that external cues play in food consumption and show the importance of considering serving bowl size in nutrition education.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cues*
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Satiety Response
  • Visual Perception*
  • Young Adult