The Good, the Bad, and the Hangry

The Good, the Bad, and the Hangry→

Interesting. But maybe only because I missed breakfast?

Hunger makes Belgians less charitable, Israeli judges more draconian, and Ohioans likelier to stick pins into voodoo dolls that represent their spouses. And, according to a paper published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it turns Canadians into hoarders. For the study, called “Hunger Promotes Acquisition of Nonfood Objects,” the marketing researchers Alison Jing Xu, Norbert Schwarz, and Robert S. Wyer, Jr., asked sixty-three undergraduates not to eat for four hours. Then they treated half of them to as much cake as they fancied. All of the volunteers were subsequently presented with a three-quarter-inch binder clip from Staples, asked how much they liked it, and told to take as many more as they felt they needed. The members of the cake-deprived group were no fonder of the binder clips than their peers, but they went home with seventy per cent more. Later, Xu and her colleagues surveyed eighty-one shoppers exiting a department store, recording when and what they last ate and scanning their receipts. The researchers found, after controlling for the shoppers’ moods and the varying lengths of time they had been in the store, that the hungriest among them had spent as much as sixty per cent more than their well-fed counterparts. Hunger, Xu and her colleagues concluded, “renders acquisition-related concepts and behaviors more accessible.” In other words, the desire to grab something to eat becomes the desire to grab anything at all.r

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