A person should never make an important decision of his life in an empty stomach, a study suggested. According to the research, hunger can make an individual care about instant gratification than the long term benefits.

The study that was published in the medical journal Psychonomic Bulletin and Review last week tried to find out how hunger increases delay in discounting of food and non-food rewards. Through the research, a group of academics from the University of Dundee found it is always beneficial to avoid making any major decisions in empty stomach for a rosy future.

“People generally know that when they are hungry they shouldn't really go food shopping because they are more likely to make choices that are either unhealthy or indulgent. Our research suggests this could have an impact on other kinds of decisions as well,” lead researcher Benjamin Vincent, a researcher at the Psychology department, said in a statement.

The researchers further said hunger can significantly alter the decision-making ability of a person. As a result, the individual becomes impatient and the person will be willing to settle for a smaller reward rather than waiting for a larger one that could arrive at a later date.

“Say you were going to speak with a pensions or mortgage advisor - doing so while hungry might make you care a bit more about immediate gratification at the expense of a potentially more rosy future,” Vincent explained.

For the study, the research team examined a total of 50 young adults aged around 21 years. Then the decision-making ability of each of the participant was analyzed twice – when they were hungry and after they had their meals.

At the end of the study, the researchers found that people when hungry often preferred immediate and smaller hypothetical rewards than the larger ones that could arrive later.

“We found there was a large effect, people's preferences shifted dramatically from the long to short term when hungry. This is an aspect of human behavior which could potentially be exploited by marketers so people need to know their preferences may change when hungry,” the lead researcher said.

The researchers further explained that “decision-making gets more present-focused” when an individual is hungry. “This work fits into a larger effort in psychology and behavioral economics to map the factors that influence our decision making. This potentially empowers people as they may foresee and mitigate the effects of hunger, for example, that might bias their decision making away from their long term goals,” Vincent continued

The research team concluded that decision-makers should be cautious when making decisions while hungry. It is mainly because hunger is very common worldwide.

“We hear of children going to school without having had breakfast, many people are on calorie restriction diets, and lots of people fast for religious reasons. [So] it is important to understand the non-obvious ways in which our preferences and decisions may be affected by it,” the lead researcher said.

Decision Making Never Make Any Important Decision In Empty Stomach Photo: Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay