Hungry? You Might Make Better Decisions, Study Finds


Peter Wade

November 4, 2014

Have a hunger to be a better decision maker? Then stay hungry, my friends. Researchers have found that being hungry leads people to make better choices, according to a study published in PLOS ONE.

All study participants fasted overnight, but one group was fed breakfast immediately when they arrived at the laboratory the next morning while the other group had to wait until after the experiment. Scientists asked each group to perform the “Iowa Gambling Task,” a psychological test that simulates real-life decisions through gambling.


Hungry participants made better choices and performed better overall than their non-hungry counterparts. Those who were hungry also avoided choosing a big payoff in the short-term if it would affect them negatively in the long-term. “Hungry participants were not more inclined to take risks to get the object of their desire,” the researchers wrote.

“These benefits from being [hungry] result from a greater reliance on emotions that allow for a better recognition of risks that go hand in hand with big rewards,” they concluded.

It seems that being hungry may be a good thing. Not only can it improve decision-making, it could also make you more empathetic.

[h/t: Discover Magazine]

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