Getting ‘hangry’ and operating on an empty stomach can lead to poor, rash decisions and impatience, a study has discovered. Researchers assessed how hunger alters people’s decision-making and found it causes people to make significantly different choices. It causes people to become impatient and makes them more inclined to settle for a small reward instead of waiting for a guaranteed larger one at a later date. It includes food options but also seeps into bigger decisions, such as financial options.
Dr. Benjamin Vincent led the research and asked 50 participants various questions about food, money and other forms of reward. They were quizzed twice, once while famished, and again when stuffed with food. It, unsurprisingly, found that people who skipped a meal accepted sooner and smaller food rewards but satiated people did not. People were offered hypothetical rewards, they can have it now, or twice as much in the future. When eating normally and not suffering hunger pains, they were normally willing to wait for 35 days to double the reward. However, after a day of not eating, this plummeted to only 3 days. The most surprising result, according to the researchers, was that being hungry actually changes preferences for rewards entirely unrelated to food.