"I usually don't have a burger, a brat, and a steak, but it is 4th of July.”
What comedian Jim Gaffigan is hinting at is a very real health concern – people tend to overeat in certain social situations. Whether it be Independence Day grilling or Super Bowl munching, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment.
According to a new study from Case Western Reserve psychologist Julie Exline, overeating in social situations is particularly a problem for those prone to sociotropy, or “people-pleasing.”
"They don't want to rock the boat or upset the sense of social harmony," said Exline.
Exline surveyed 101 college students about their eating habits and social tendencies, and found that peer pressure can have a direct effect on food consumption. She then tested the students with a bowl of M&Ms, recording how many they ate relative to who was in the room sharing them.
The study is reported in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.