Social matching of food intake and the need for social acceptance

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The key paper under consideration is "Social matching of food consumption and the desire for social approval" by Robinson, Tobias, Shaw, Freeman, and Higgs (2011). The study was carried out to evaluate the context of social eating amongst individuals and how it tends to march with their food intake to that of their companions, despite the fact that the other person is participating in consuming massive amounts of food. Furthermore, the study was conducted due to the lack of knowledge linked with food intake matching and its underlying process. Furthermore, the other reasons as to why the study was conducted were to analyze of two studies that have been conducted based on the examination of whether there is a role that is played by the ingratiation strategies when it comes to young females' food intake social matching.

The first study

The first study involved the female dyads completing a task of solving a problem together while at the same time having chocolate M&M's. The hypothesis made in this study was the prediction of the degree of matching based on the needs of people who have a competency socially (trait self-esteem) and also who are competent when it comes to social interactions (trait empathy). The second study was about the direct manipulation of ingratiating through priming social acceptance among the half of the participants before they ate popcorn while having a confederate who eats large amounts present.


Study 1

The participants of this study were 122 female who were mainly undergraduate students at Birmingham University. They were mainly recruited in exchange for a course credit. The participants gave signed informed consents.

There are various aspects that happened to participants regarding the procedures that were done and measurements that were taken. The procedures involved the participants signing for sessions that were mainly online and also they were not aware of the identities of their dyad partners. The sessions were mainly done from 9 am to 11 am, and in some of the cases, it took place on weekdays from 2 pm and 5 pm. There are various activities that were done to the participants that included reading various sheets about the objectives of the study.

Study 2

The study applied the use of 50 participants who were from the University of Birmingham, and they were offered a course credit for their participation in the study.

The participants of the study were mainly subjected to various experimental conditions to ensure that there was the realization of the objectives of the study. The experimentation involved the prime acceptance socially based on how they felt, and this was in line with the prime manipulations concept. The participants have also involved in the completion of the word tasks that had ten words that were neutral. There was the use of a confederate who was also involved in the execution of the study alongside the participants.


The results of the first study indicate that there was a strong matching effect that was found based on the entire sample that was used. The findings of the study have been found to relate with the hypothesis that was used, and this is regarding confirming that indeed that empathy and self-esteem traits are linked to a stronger matching effect, and this is with the presence of a dyadic self-esteem. Also, it has been indicated in the findings that the stronger matching effect that has been found in the study might have a link to the dyads that was characterized by either an individual who possessed low self-esteem or empathy that was high.

The findings of the second study indicated that there were smaller matching effects after the priming feelings based on acceptance socially and this was contrary to the participants who were in the neutral condition. The findings of the study give a suggestion that the ingratiation attempts might be a factor that influences the issue of food intake matching.


Baron et al. have been able to accurately and completely describe the original article within their book. This is mainly found on page 157 of their book where there has been the description of how the original article was able to come up with the conclusion that social acceptance has a role when it comes to the matching the eating of another individual. Also, Baron et al. have been able to indicate the method that was used in the original article in conducting the study.

The purpose of the article is different from the one that has been described by Baron, Branscombe (2012). This is because the primary article has indicated the main purpose which has not been entirely captured by Baron, Branscombe (2012) as they have left the concept of the companion and the issue of food matching amongst people.

The participants have not been accurately and completely described by Baron and Branscombe. This is because they have failed to indicate the gender of the participants and that the participants were students from the University of Birmingham as indicated in the primary article.

Baron and Branscombe have not well captured the procedures, and this is because there are inaccuracies such as the use of cookies, vegetables, and fruits that have not been captured in the primary article.

The procedure has not been described completely by Baron and Branscombe since they have left various steps such as the use of confederate in the studies.


Robinson, E., Tobias, T., Shaw, L., Freeman, E., & Higgs, S. (2011). Social matching of food intake and the need for social acceptance. Appetite, 56(3), 747-752.

April 19, 2023

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