Some foods and drinks can seem easier to eat than others. Have you gone to the movies and ordered the medium sized popcorn? Or the large? The chance is that whichever you took, much of it was gone before the movie started. Furthermore, independent of the size of the bucket you chose, you may feel equally as full (or not so full and eager for more!).


Appetite researchers have shown that if you’re not paying attention to the food on your plate, you tend to eat more than you otherwise would. This has been termed mindless eating. Eating in this way could be problematic in itself – by taking in too many calories – but added to this, mindless eating can result in not feeling as full as one might expect, which may lead to eating even more. Conversely, if you’re forced to eat very mindfully: for example by eating a milkshake with a spoon instead of gulping it down, you will probably feel full quicker, and tend to eat less.

There are numerous issues that determine how much we eat: what we see, what we taste and how much attention we pay our meal. Additionally it’s quite unknown to what extent the amount our stomach is stretched, in other words how much we ate, affects our fullness. In Nudge-it we will pick apart these processes in experiments showing pictures of foods, or even using real foods while our subjects have their brains imaged in MRI scanners. Our aim is to discover exactly what determines how full we feel after a meal.