A new study out of the University of Dundee has found that hunger significantly alters our decision-making ability. In fact, it makes us more impatient and more likely to seek an immediate reward rather than wait for a better one later on. Think, buying choccie at the checkout to satisfy your grumbling stomach vs. hanging out till you get home to tuck into a salad.
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But this doesn’t just apply to our appetite. As well as the topic of food, participants were asked questions relating to money and other incentives when satiated, and again after they had skipped a meal. Their answers suggested that the consequences of being hungry can carry over into other kinds of decisions we make, like financial and interpersonal ones.
“Say you were going to speak with a pensions or mortgage advisor - doing so while hungry might make you care a bit more about immediate gratification at the expense of a potentially more rosy future,” the study’s lead author, Dr Benjamin Vincent explained.
"We found there was a large effect, people's preferences shifted dramatically from the long to short term when hungry. This is an aspect of human behaviour which could potentially be exploited by marketers so people need to know their preferences may change when hungry.”
Bottom line? Don't go shopping while hungry. Period. Unless you're OK with spending your dosh on the entire contents of the confectionary aisle.
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