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The social facilitation of food intake
  1. R F Drewett
  1. Correspondence to:
    R F Drewett
    Department of Psychology, University of Durham, Durham, UK; r.f.drewett{at}

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Perspective on the paper by Lumeng and Hillman (see page384)

Schools making valiant efforts to introduce the Jamie Oliver diet will have some sympathy with Oberlin College in Ohio, USA, which sought in the early 19th century to introduce the equally healthy (and more morally improving) Sylvester Graham diet, and found, I am sorry to say, that rebellious students took to leaving the campus to eat more palatable foods elsewhere. Even a professor refused to stop bringing in pepper to liven up his college meal, and for setting so bad an example the college was eventually obliged to sack him. I learned these interesting facts checking out the graham cracker, used by Julie Lumeng and Katherine Hillman in their study. The graham cracker, which is more like a digestive biscuit than what would commonly be called a cracker in the UK, is the sole surviving remnant of the Graham diet.1

Eating is one of our most obviously social activities. Immediately after birth, it invariably involves an adult as well as the infant, most usually the child’s mother. From weaning onwards other children and other adults can also be present at meals, and …

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Linked Articles

  • Précis
    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • Original article
    Julie C Lumeng Katherine H Hillman