When you are feeling incredibly hungry, there’s just a small step until you become angry or, as many people call it, hangry. If you thought low blood sugar was to blame, researchers came here to enlighten you. The cause of the event is actually a combination between emotional and psychological factors, as well as the external context of the situation.
Being hangry isn’t only related to hunger?
Being hangry is quite a complex process, since it doesn’t only come from hunger. Kristen Lindquist, one of the researchers from North Carolina that developed the study, put the whole event in simpler words. Whenever you are hungry, you experience an unpleasant feeling. Sometimes, you might think the feeling doesn’t come from hunger. In these cases, you end up directing it towards other people or external situations.
To reach these conclusions, researchers developed two different experiments. For the first one, 400 American participants had to watch images that were either pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. Afterwards, they had to rate both a Chinese pictograph and their hunger.
Strategically, researchers picked a pictograph that should appear as neutral as possible. However, an interesting phenomenon happened. Hungrier people rated the image as more negative, but this happened only if they saw negative images before.
Negative contexts make it easier for people to be hangry
Here’s how the researchers explained being hangry. The previous negative context they had been given made them see the image as negative as well. In fact, they converted their feelings of hunger into hostility against the image. However, the interpretations were more peaceful in case of positive and neutral images.
For the second experiment, 200 students had to either eat or stay hungry before performing a test. Some of them could express their emotions in writing before the task. To check their reactions, researchers made some computers malfunction, and then blamed the students for it. Those who hadn’t got to express their feelings appeared more hangry and frustrated.
These experiments are the best proof that a negative context can really make people hangry. That unpleasantness caused by hunger can immediately turn into something else if external factors allow it. More details on the study have been published in the journal Emotion.
Image source: Pixabay