Birgit Stürmer, Guang Ouyang, Marina Palazova, Annekathrin Schacht, Manuel Martín-Loeches, Philip Rausch, and Werner Sommer (2018)

Lunching for Relaxation or Cognitive Control? After-Effects of Social and Solitary Meals.

Advances in Cognitive Psychology(14(1)):14-20.

Meals, especially when taken in company, may affect the diner’s mood. In line with findings that mood may alter cognitive control, a previous study by the authors found that after solitary meals, the Simon effect was diminished as compared to a premeal condition, whereas a social meal did not reduce the Simon effect. Here, we investigated whether this finding generalizes across different demands in cognitive control and, therefore, applied a flanker task. Obtained questionnaire data indicated differential effects in mood and relaxation of a social as compared to a solitary meal. Replicating our previous findings, the flanker compatibility effect decreased after a solitary meal but increased after a social meal. The present results support our previous findings with new evidence that a meal taken in a social context attenuates subsequent cognitive control processes compared with a solitary meal.