Want To Appear More Trustworthy? Try Eating The Same Food

If you order the same meal as a colleague, client, friend, or even a love interest, you might be on the path to building a trusting relationship.

Food can play a role in connecting people and building trust across a variety of situations.

Therefore, researchers at the University of Chicago launched a series of experiments to measure the ways eating the same food could possibly affect developing relationships, according to research published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

In the first experiment, 176 participants who did not know each other were divided into pairs to play an economic game. In each pair, one individual pretended to be an investor while the other acted as a fund manager. Some pairs were given the same type of candy to eat, while others were given different candies.

Those who had eaten the same treats gave more money to their partners, compared to those who had consumed different candies.

"The amount of money the investor gave to the fund manager was basically the degree of trust," study author Ayelet Fishbach, professor of behavioral science and marketing at the university’s Booth School of Business, told CBS. "And those assigned the same food gave more money."

For the second experiment, 124 participants were paired in a mock strike negotiation. The pairs, which consisted of a mock union leader and a manager, typically reached an agreement nearly twice as fast when they had eaten similar foods.

"People tend to think that they use logic to make decisions, and they are largely unaware that food preferences can influence their thinking," Fishbach explained, as reported by the Daily Mail.

In the final experiment, participants were more likely to trust a product testimonial when the person giving the rave reviews was eating the same food.

"People who eat similar foods are trusting each other, even if it really wasn't intentional, and it's going to affect the everyday, simple situations in which we are working with somebody else,” Fishbach said.

Researchers had also tested whether other factors, such as wearing shirts that were the same color, had a similar effect on perceived trust. Alas, it appears that the way to our hearts is indeed through our stomachs.

"If you think about it, cultures have done this for a long time," added Fishbach. "It's as simple as you and I having the same piece of candy."