Is the term ‘hangry’, a combination of hunger and anger, real? A new study has found that there is reality between hunger and anger and as such the term “hanger” has its significance.
In the new study involving 64 adult participants from Europe, the researchers came to this conclusion. Over the course of 21 days, the volunteers were asked to record their emotions and hunger pangs five times a day via a smartphone app. To their surprise, the researchers found that hunger is associated with a higher level of anger and irritability, and fewer pleasurable feelings. Social psychologist Viren Swami, from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK said that hunger can influence emotions. However, he mentioned that only a little scientific research has focused on being ‘hangry’.
He also claimed that their study was the first one to examine being ‘hangry’ outside of a lab. The researchers also said that across a total of 9,142 data points submitted by those taking part in the study, hunger was associated with 48 percent of the variance in anger, 56 percent of the variance in irritability, and 44 percent of the variance in pleasure. Previous studies have suggested a lower blood glucose level might be something to do with our tendency to get ‘hangry’, But as yet there have been no definitive conclusions about why hunger leads to anger and irritability in this way.
Knowing more about how these feelings and emotions develop in relation to the contents of our stomach can ultimately help us manage them better, the team suggests – even if it’s just a case of recognizing what’s happening within our own bodies. “Although our study doesn’t present ways to mitigate negative hunger-induced emotions, research suggests that being able to label an emotion can help people to regulate it, such as by recognising that we feel angry simply because we are hungry,’ says Swami.
“Therefore, greater awareness of being ‘hangry’ could reduce the likelihood that hunger results in negative emotions and behaviors in individuals.” The research has been published in PLOS One