Study Reveals Complex Journey From Hungry to “Hangry”

Context, self-awareness key factors if hunger leads to distress

Image Credits: Susanne Nilsson, Flickr.

What makes someone go from simply being hungry to full-on “hangry”? More than just a simple drop in blood sugar, this combination of hunger and anger may be a complicated emotional response involving an interplay of biology, personality and environmental cues, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

“We all know that hunger can sometimes affect our emotions and perceptions of the world around us, but it’s only recently that the expression hangry, meaning bad-tempered or irritable because of hunger, was accepted by the Oxford Dictionary,” said lead author Jennifer MacCormack, MA, a doctoral student in the department of psychology and neurocience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “The purpose of our research is to better understand the psychological mechanisms of hunger-induced emotional states — in this case, how someone becomes hangry.”

The research was published in the journal Emotion.

Read more