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Psychol Sci. 2019 Mar 4:956797619830633. doi: 10.1177/0956797619830633. [Epub ahead of print]

Shared Plates, Shared Minds: Consuming From a Shared Plate Promotes Cooperation.

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1 Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University.
2 Booth School of Business, The University of Chicago.


A meal naturally brings people together, but does the way a meal is served and consumed further matter for cooperation between people? This research ( N = 1,476) yielded evidence that it does. People eating from shared plates (i.e., a Chinese-style meal) cooperated more in social dilemmas and negotiations than those eating from separate plates. Specifically, sharing food from a single plate increased perceived coordination among diners, which in turn led them to behave more cooperatively and less competitively toward each other, compared with individuals eating the same food from separate plates. The effect of sharing a plate on cooperation occurred among strangers, which suggests that sharing plates can bring together more than just allies.


cooperation; coordination; food consumption; negotiation; open data; open materials; preregistered; social dilemma


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