Extroverted Children More Likely To Be Swayed By Environmental Cues: Study

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Extroverted kids may be more likely to be tricked by bigger bowl sizes than their introverted counterparts, according to a small new study.

Researchers from the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab and the University of Groningen found that extroverted kids are more likely than their introverted peers to serve themselves bigger portions in response to a bigger bowl. Previous research has shown that bigger bowl size can trick children into serving themselves bigger portions.

The findings suggest that environmental cues can affect introverted and extroverted children differently, researchers said.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, included 18 kids ages 6 to 10, whose levels of introversion and extroversion were rated on a scale by teachers and counselors.

On one day, the kids were served breakfast by adults; they were given a large bowl, and then told the adults how much cereal and milk they wanted to have. On another day, the kids served themselves breakfast. The amount of food served -- whether by the adults, or the kids themselves -- was secretly weighed by scales hidden in the tables.

Extroverted kids served themselves 33.1 percent more breakfast when they had the larger bowl, compared with introverted kids, who only served themselves 5.6 percent more when they had a larger bowl.

When the adults were serving for them, both extroverted and introverted kids asked for more than 50 percent more when they had a bigger bowl.

"Insofar as extraverted children appear to be more at risk for influence by environmental cues, there are two different serving recommendations for parents. Extraverted children should be served by an adult, and introverted children should be allowed to serve themselves," the researchers wrote in the study. "Still, since the average child served 23.2 percent more when serving themselves than when served by an adult, it might be best for caregivers to do the serving whenever possible -- but especially for extraverted children."

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