Overeating Depends On Context

A study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, said while we go for hot dogs at ballgames, popcorn is the choice of everyone at the movies.  And, even if the popcorn we get is stale, we continue munching on it even after the realization of it being a week old strikes home.

Scientists analyzing two groups of movie-goers, those who were regular eaters of popcorn at movies and those not so, found the non-popcorn eaters ate more fresh just-popped popcorn than stale popcorn, compared to those habituated to eating popcorn, who gobbled just as much stale as fresh popcorn.

This kind of over-eating, the researchers said could be due to the environmental causes, as when fresh and stale popcorn was offered in a meeting room, rather than the movie theater, the regular popcorn eaters chose fresh over stale popcorn.

The twist to the study is, when researchers made movie goers eat fresh and stale popcorn using their left or right, whichever was their non-dominant hand, they found regular popcorn eaters ate less stale popcorn.

Researchers discovered that people who used their non-dominant hand ate less. 

They reason using the hand that does not normally grab fistfuls of popcorn, means movie-goers needed to pay more attention to the eating process, making them notice the staleness of the popcorn.