“How about lunch?” (new academic study)

This new study offers possibly deep insights into lunch:

Prof. Dr. rer. soc. habil. Werner Sommer
Prof. Dr. rer. soc. habil. Werner Sommer

How About Lunch? Consequences of the Meal Context on Cognition and Emotion,” Werner Sommer [pictured here], Birgit Stürmer, Olga Shmuilovich, Manuel Martin-Loeches, Annekathrin Schacht, PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 7, 2013, e70314. The authors, at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany, International Psychoanalytic University, Berlin, UCM-ISCIII, Madrid, Spain, Complutense University of Madrid, and the University of Göttingen, Germany, explain:

“Although research addresses the effects of a meal’s context on food preference, the psychological consequences of meal situations are largely unexplored. We compared the cognitive and emotional effects of a restaurant meal eaten in the company of others to a solitary meal consumed in a plain office using pre- and post-tests analysis and controlling for the kind and amount of food consumed. Three tasks were conducted, measuring: (1) semantic memory (2) cognitive control and error monitoring, and (3) processing of emotional facial expressions…. These findings provide the first experimental evidence that a restaurant meal with a social component may be more relaxing than a meal eaten alone in a plain setting and may reduce cognitive control.”

Further detail from the study:


(Thanks to investigator E. Weller for bringing this to our attention.)

BONUS (perhaps unrelated): Video of “I Love Lunch! The Musical”: