Social facilitation of eating among friends and strangers

Appetite. 1994 Aug;23(1):1-13. doi: 10.1006/appe.1994.1030.


Research suggests that meals eaten with other people are larger than meals eaten alone. The effect of group size and acquaintance on consumption was investigated by serving dinner to female subjects alone, in pairs or in groups of four. Subjects dined alone, with friends or with strangers. Subjects in both pairs and groups of four ate more than did subjects alone, suggesting that the mere presence of others is more important in enhancing intake than the specific number of people present. Subjects with friends ate more dessert than subjects with strangers, indicating that the relationship of dining companions is an important factor contributing to social facilitation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Eating*
  • Female
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Social Facilitation*