Everyone Likes Free Office Food Because We’re All Basically Cave People

It's Marlene's birthday. You know, Marlene from accounting? (Faded Photograph)

It’s Marlene’s birthday. You know, Marlene from accounting? (Faded Photograph)

All it takes is a single email with the words “free food” in it and an entire office can be brought to its feet, sending workers scurrying toward the communal area and a chance at a handout. From cupcakes to pizza, the thought of getting something for nothing is a tempting one — even if you don’t know whose birthday it is or why there are free subs in the conference room. This, because we’re all just trying to survive, just like we did when we lived in caves.

Though cave people didn’t have offices or email, they sure knew how to appreciate food when it was available for the taking, in order to survive. That instinct could be one reason we all go running when there’s grub up for grabs, reports the Huffington Post.

“It’s reminiscent of survival kicking in,” Dr. Steve Terracciano, a board-certified cognitive and behavioral psychologist told HuffPo. “Food can bring out something primal in people.”

Obviously, if an email went out notifying workers that leftovers or samples would cost something, it’s likely that not many people would run quite so fast as when free food is literally on the table.

Some of this behavior is also learned — think piñatas at birthday parties, or Halloween traditions that have kids scrambling for candy to make sure they can get as much as they can.

“Part of all of this is how you’ve learned to participate with groups of people,” Terracciano said.

It’s not all greed, however, as HuffPo cites a clinical psychologist who notes that eating together is a communal experience, one that extends to the office environment.

“Breaking bread together is a sign of trust,” Dr. Chloe Carmichael explains. “Sharing a meal together does help people to bond. It facilitates communication, trust and a shared sensory experience.”

Until there’s only one piece of free pizza left. Then everyone finds out how strong that workplace bond truly is.

Why You And Your Co-Workers Go Absolutely Nuts For Free Office Food [Huffington Post]