The Delbouf illusion shows us that the perceived size of things can be manipulated by changing the size of nearby things. A person of average height would look tiny standing beside the 8 foot 11 inch Robert Wadlow. Not only would they look smaller, but it might affect your feelings and attitude about that person. What we perceive affects how we think. The same thing happens on your dinner table.
Imagine a serving of mashed potatoes. A big creamy pile of starch, covered in gravy. Picture it in the middle of an otherwise empty plate. If it’s a large dinner plate, then the mound of potatoes would look relatively small. If that same pile was on a small side plate, it would look significantly larger. Turns out, the size of your plate not only affects how your food looks, but how much you eat, and how satisfied you feel.
One study conducted at a summer camp gave half the kids larger breakfast bowls. The kids with the big bowls were eating 16% more cereal every morning. Not only that, when they were asked about, the large bowl kids felt that they were eating 7% less than the small bowl kids. They were eating more, but feeling less satisfied.
In a world filled with ridiculous and harmful “diet plans”, often the best strategy is eating smaller portions. Try replacing your 10 inch dinner plates with 8 inch lunch plates, and you may find the Delbouf illusion garners better results than willpower alone. Your plates won’t be the only thing losing inches.
- Source: The Perils of Large Plates – Cornell University