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By appearing too eager to desire the last donut, one does not wish to reveal greed or weakness. Also, One does not wish to jeopardize future successful (proportions in your favor) food-sharing by potentially missing out on some future tid-bit or yum-yum/nom-nom morsel. We are all suckers for bits of joy that can be consumed.


This is a cultural/situational phenomenon. I know that in my parents' generation (which grew up with poverty), it is common courtesy to never take the last piece of cake/whatever. The host always has to make sure there's plenty, because 1 piece left means that people are still hungry. Nowadays most people (in my culture and generation) are not so hesitant. ...


What is interesting about this phenomenon is that it runs counter to the scarcity principle. Countless research has shown that the more scarce a commodity is, the more desirable it becomes. This is often capitalized on in marketing ("limited edition" and so on). Thus, the last donut should actually be even more attractive than one of many donuts. So ...

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