Science Reveals Why People Become Hangry If They Miss Food

Modesto Morganelli
Giugno 14, 2018

A new study claims these negative emotions aren't just triggered by hunger, but can also be attributed to biology, personality and your environment.

There have been earlier studies that have shown that hunger can in fact affect the mood mainly because hunger is responsible for affecting hormones as well as the autonomic nervous system - both of which could have effects on mood. The hungry students reported feeling more negative emotions, but only those who didn't write about their emotions previously.

What makes someone go from simply being hungry to full-on "hangry"? "We find that feeling hangry happens when you feel unpleasantness due to hunger but interpret those feelings as strong emotions about other people or the situation you're in". Man of us even get hangry - that's hungry and angry - when we haven't downed a meal in several hours.

For a biological state of hunger to turn into an emotional state of anger, the researchers found that negative contexts and lack of self-awareness play a key role.

This showed researchers that not being aware of emotions can cause us to be hangry - not just hunger. In the first, 400 people were shown images created to incite a positive, negative, or neutral response; then they rated a separate, ambiguous image on a scale from pleasant to unpleasant. They were then asked to rate a Chinese pictograph on a seven-point scale from pleasant to unpleasant and state how hungry they feel. Their reactions after viewing a positive or neutral image however did not end up in a guess that the ambiguous picture was something unpleasant - same as not-hungry participants. The scenario was set up so participants experienced a computer crash just before they had completed the task.

Those who felt hungrier and were shown the angry dog tended to rate the pictogram as unpleasant, insinuating to researchers that existing negativity contributed to negative interpretations later on.

Lead author Jennifer MacCormack, MA, a doctoral student in the department of psychology and neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said that, "there seems to be something special about unpleasant situations that makes people draw on their hunger feelings more than, say, in pleasant or neutral situations".

What the researchers found is that the hungry participants primed with a negative image were more likely to find the ambiguous Chinese pictograph unpleasant.

The results? As expected, the fasting students expressed greater negative emotions about the experience when they weren't focused on their own emotions - they were hangry.

Separately, the same team of researchers looked at a different group of 236 people, all undergraduate students at UNC, who were then divided into two groups and asked to eat or fast before taking a writing test. "This means that it's important to take care of our bodies, to pay attention to those bodily signals and not discount them, because they matter not just for our long-term mental health, but also for the day-to-day quality of our psychological experiences, social relationships and work performance".

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE