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Appetite. 2001 Apr;36(2):165-71.

Self-presentational conflict in social eating situations: a normative perspective.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, Audubon Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA. daroth@lsu.edu


This study explored the degree to which people adhere to norms for "appropriate" eating behavior in social situations. Of particular interest was how people determine what is appropriate behavior when they are faced with conflicting norms within a given situation. Participants tasted cookies while alone or while observed by the experimenter. Furthermore, participants were assigned to either a "no norm" condition in which they were given no indication of how much other people in the study had eaten, an "inhibition norm" condition in which they were led to believe that others had eaten minimally, or an "augmentation norm" condition in which they were led to believe that others in the study had eaten a lot. When they were alone, participants were influenced by the norms; but when they were observed, they ate minimally, regardless of the norms to which they were exposed. It seems that a norm for minimal eating superseded a matching norm which prescribes that people should use the intake of their peers as a guide for appropriate behavior. Implications of these findings and limitations of the study were discussed.

Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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