If you have important choices to make, make sure you have eaten… Hunger is a sensation that can skew the decision process, according to Scottish researchers.
Hunger is bad adviser … A study from the University of Dundee in Scotland advises against making decisions on an empty stomach at the risk of making bad choices. For good reasons, hunger would change the decision-making process. According to the researchers’ observations, when you are hungry, you would be more tempted to accept a small immediate reward than to wait for a bigger reward.
50 participants took part in an experience of taking a decision without eating for a day, and another time eating normally during the day.
The decision process was influenced by hunger. In particular, if a certain reward was offered to the participants and it could be doubled in the meantime, the volunteers were able to wait 35 days to win the bet, against three days if they were hungry.
Making a decision when you are hungry can “make you worry a little more about immediate gratification at the expense of a potentially rosier future,” says Dr. Benjamin Vincent, author of the work published in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, to the BBC.
The academic believes that this behavioral aspect could be exploited by marketers: “People must know that their preferences can change if you are hungry.”
In the nutritional field, these results allow us to understand why it is not advisable to shop on an empty stomach. This pushes us towards less rational food choices. For some, the immediate satisfaction of soft foods is then overshadowed by guilt and weight gain.