New US research has revealed two important factors that could cause us to feel "hangry", an emotional state which is a combination of both hunger and anger. Personality, environment, and context of a situation can trigger negative emotions due to hunger. The hungry students reported feeling more negative emotions, but only those who didn't write about their emotions previously.
"Our bodies play a powerful role in shaping our moment-to-moment experiences, perceptions and behaviors - whether we are hungry versus full, exhausted versus rested or sick versus healthy", 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 in a statement.
What makes someone go from simply being hungry to full-on "hangry"? For this study two random group of 118 undergraduate students were included.
MacCormack said the objective of their study is to better understand the psychology behind why a person gets angry when he is hungry. In the first trial, they recruited 400 volunteers from the United States and showed them images created to generate positive, neutral, or negative responses. Those who said they felt hungry but were shown positive or neutral images before being shown the pictograph didn't react in such a negative manner.
The Chinese pictograph was chosen as an ambiguous image that shouldn't evoke any strong feelings - and yet it did.
"The goal of our research is to better understand the psychological mechanisms of hunger-induced emotional states". 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.
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. Then, one of the researchers came into the room and blamed the student for the computer crash.
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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".
All the students were asked to complete a tedious computer exercise that was programmed to crash just before they could complete it, a scenario created to evoke negative emotions from them.
Based on the study's results, hungrier participants had a greater chance of giving the pictograph a negative rating after they were shown a negative image beforehand.
After this, they answered a questionnaire which showed that hungry participants thought that the researcher conducting the experiment was more judgmental or harsh.
The researchers then performed tricks to annoy their specimens, including crashing their computers before the exercise was finished.
MacCormack added that, "Our bodies play a powerful role in shaping our moment-to-moment experiences, perceptions, and behaviors - whether we are hungry versus full, exhausted versus rested or sick versus healthy".