“[My colleagues and I] are interested in this phenomenon because we study emotions and what the more basic processes are in the brain that contribute to emotions. There does seem to be a physiological and corresponding psychological shift when we’re hungry,” she tells NBC News BETTER.
Through a series of tests, Dr. Lindquist and her team concluded that when hungry, people are more likely to be in a negative mindset than those who are sated. One of the tests put participants in slightly annoying situations — like being faced with a computer malfunction and having to start a tedious task over. The empty-stomached participants were overtly peeved, and later, when given an evaluation of the research assistant’s performance were much likely to give negative feedback, saying that the research assistant had “been judgmental towards them”, Lindquist says, “suggesting that hunger turns up the dial on your anger in the face of a frustrating experience.”