Study Says You Shouldn’t Make Any Decisions When Hungry

Hunger started off as being a good trait, one that encouraged people to spend time cooking and eating food together. With the progress of time though, the need to satiate it has become more urgent such that when not fulfilled hunger can control and birth many negative emotions.

Hunger makes people less generous, less charitable, more irritable, and more critical. The association of hunger and anger is such that hangry has been labelled a feeling of its own. In fact, hunger’s link with psychology is so strong that emotional eating is a thing. This term refers to feeling psychologically hungry rather than physically hungry.

It’s when you feel hungry because of being upset rather than because you have an empty stomach. Such is the link between hunger and human behavior and psychology. One 2018 study found that hunger, particularly the lack of glucose, can have an adverse effect on mood.

The research work concluded that hunger can cause sluggish behavior and even stress by increasing cortisol levels. Now a new study has found that hunger can also impact decision making. These poor choices made when hungry can have long term implications.

Hunger’s Impact On Decision-Making

Researchers from the University of Dundee conducted this research work. They hired a team of 50 participants. Scientists tested the group twice. Once when it was full and the second time when participants were on an empty stomach.

It was noted that people preferred immediate reward over long term benefits when hungry. Lead of the study, Dr. Benjamin Vincent said, “Doing so while hungry might make you care a bit more about immediate gratification at the expense of a potentially more rosy future.”

The Psychonomic Bulletin and Review journal published this study. It also found that people were generally aware that they shouldn’t go grocery shopping when hungry. This is because it is believed that shopping for food on an empty stomach can lead you to spend more on items that you don’t actually need.

This study shows that hunger impacts not only food-related, but other decisions as well. It found that when people were given the choice between instant reward and a double reward in the future, they normally were ready to wait for 35 days for enjoying the bigger reward. However, when hungry they couldn’t wait for more than three days.

Dr. Vincent warned that marketers could use this quality of human behavior. This study backs another one that came out in 2016. This report was carried out by the University of Gothenburg. It had concluded that the release of the hormone ghrelin had a negative influence on impulse control and decision making.


A new research work conducted on human participants found that hunger could make you take poorer decisions. In this regard, it is best to satiate yourself and then take major decisions. Because the poor decisions that you make when hungry can have long term effects. Marketers can exploit this aspect of behavior as well.