Never eat anything bigger than your head

Back in college, the head of the Lab for Computer Science had a reputation for agressively pursuing grants and equipment. One of my professors used to joke: “If you offer Prof. Brown five pounds of bat guano, he’ll immediately ask for ten”.
Turns out, most people behave the same way. According to Cornell Prof. Brian Wansink, author of “Mindless Eating”, you can get people to eat really old, stale popcorn, as long as you give them a big enough tub of the stuff. And people will always eat more if you serve food on bigger plates.

His overarching conclusion is that our decisions about eating often have little to do with how hungry we are. Instead, we rely on cues like the size of a popcorn bucket — or the way we organize our refrigerator — to tell us how much to eat.
The scariest part is that most of us think we are immune to these hidden persuaders.

Mr. Wansink and his team were so taken aback by the results of their experiments on the shape of glasses that some of them went home and replaced the squat glasses they owned with tall, skinny ones. Mr. Wansink also uses dinner plates from the 1940s, which have the double advantage of being smaller and being more interesting than your typical Crate and Barrel fare.

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