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Monopoly, Status, & Food

June 14, 2016

Our perception of our social status, even during a brief board game, may be powerful enough to affect our food choices.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Food and social status. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Do our feelings about our social status affect our diet? In the journal Physiology and Behavior, University of Florida researcher Michelle Cardel and   her colleagues report on a rigged game of Monopoly in which some players were awarded a high status and given significant advantages, while others were handicapped. Later, the low status group selected foods for their lunch that were higher in calories and salt.

MICHELLE CARDEL (University of Florida):

They tended to go more for the lasagna, for example, in the low social status condition, and the macaroni and cheese, which is probably where they got some of those extra calories and some of that extra sodium or salt.

HIRSHON:

A month later, when they played again and the roles were reversed, the food choices also flipped. The work suggests that reducing social inequality could improve diet and overall public health.  I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon