“Recent psychological studies have revealed that the amount of food consumed is influenced by both its actual volume and external factors during eating.”
Therefore, reasoned a research team from the University of Tokyo, if a portion of food seems bigger, maybe diners would eat less of it? Their experimental real-time computer graphic kit creates the illusion that potentially fattening food (e.g. a cookie) looks bigger, whilst a healthy pineapple chunk appears smaller.
Their paper : ‘Augmented Perception of Satiety: Controlling Food Consumption by Changing Apparent Size of Food with Augmented Reality‘ was presented at the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2012.
Bonus: One of the authors, Yuki Ban, maintains a website called DrunkBoarder which links to another project, called ‘Augmented Endurance’ – click the picture for full details.
Note: Although bigger-looking food might prompt diners to feel satiated earlier, larger portions can sometimes have the opposite effect, encouraging overeating. See for example the work of 2007 Ig Nobel prize-winner Brian Wansink of Cornell University, who explored the seemingly boundless appetites of human beings, by feeding them with a self-refilling, bottomless bowl of soup.