The first 2 spoonfuls give the taste

cleanplate1.jpgMindless Eating by Brian Wansink offers this, among many other interesting notions. When we're eating, the maximum taste experience occurs in the first two spoonfuls. Ever since hearing about this, I've been hyper-aware of taste as I eat, and I reckon he is right.

Food is not the only item that we consume. Information is also offered and tasted and gobbled up.

There's a close parallel between the information we consume off web sites, and the food we stick in our mouths. On a web page too, the first two mouthfuls provide the flavour. First, the headline. Then the very first sentence or two, which ought to be a summary of the whole.

The first two swallows provide the essential flavour of a page of web content. Is it tasty or flavourless, sweet or savoury, strong or bland? True to the original ingredients or loaded with sugar, salt and chemical additives? Fresh or stale? Distinctive or boringly familiar? Will it be easy to digest, or sit heavily in the stomach?

One big difference. Brian Wansink points out that we eat far more than we need for survival or even pleasure. We eat because it's in front of us. We clean up the plate because we were told that's polite. We eat every scrap out of parsimony, piety, pigginess or habit.

But people looking at a web page behave differently. They respond to the first two mouthfuls of content, and only keep eating if it is exactly the meal they want.

Contented courses show how to make those first two spoonfuls worth eating.


Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine

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