Stale Popcorn Experiments

Hello readers, hope your weekend went well for you! I just came back from watching the movie “The Imitation Game” starring Benedict Cumberbiatch with my friends and thought I’d share a psychology experiment about POPCORNS.

In 2005, Psychologist Brian Wansink did an experiment at the movie theaters to see how moviegoers consume their popcorns. Good news for those of you who likes popcorn: he gave people free popcorns! Some of them got medium size popcorn, others got large size popcorn. Here’s the real catch though – some people got popcorns that were freshly made, and some people got popcorns that were 14 days old. FOURTEEN. Two Weeks! My first thought was “Ew, no way!

What actually happened was quite shocking:Overall, people with the BIG box ate 30-40% more than people with the smaller popcorn. Then, you’d think that people with the 14-day old popcorn won’t eat the soggy, gross popcorn? That wasn’t the case! People still ate 34% more of the stale popcorn when they’re given the big box as opposed to the small box.


We use environmental cues, such as size of the bag, to determine how much we should eat. When you’re given a bigger bag, you’ll eat more!

Implications: consider putting your food on a smaller plate or bowl if you want to eat less!






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