The social facilitation of eating. A review

Appetite. 2015 Mar;86:61-73. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.09.016. Epub 2014 Sep 26.


The social facilitation of eating (i.e., people eating more in groups than when alone) has been studied for about three decades now. In this paper, we review the empirical research (diary studies, observational studies, and experimental studies) of social facilitation, attending to factors that increase or decrease socially facilitated eating. We also review the various explanations (e.g., "time extension") that have been offered for the effect and offer our own speculations as to the underlying mechanisms. Further, we discuss promising directions for future research on the social facilitation of eating.

Keywords: Eating; Pre-meal planning; Social facilitation; Time extension.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet Records
  • Eating / psychology
  • Emotions
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hunger
  • Hyperphagia / psychology
  • Male
  • Meals
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Environment
  • Social Facilitation*
  • Time Factors