Angry about scientists 'wasting their time' on 'hangry' study? Here's why it's worthwhile – Scotsman comment

If you are reading this before lunch, particularly if you skipped breakfast, please try to stay calm: scientists have discovered that being hungry can make people angry, or ‘hangry’ as it is sometimes called.

Don't be hangry, have a banana instead (Picture: Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty Images)
Don't be hangry, have a banana instead (Picture: Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty Images)

The study – an international collaboration involving scientists at Anglia Ruskin University in the UK and the Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences in Austria, no less – found that “hunger was related to levels of anger, irritability, and pleasure”, after taking into account age, sex, body mass index, dietary behaviour, and individual personality traits.

Now, there are people who may find their blood pressure rising at the thought of academics “wasting their time” on researching an issue that we all know to be true. “Of course people get hangry, everyone knows that, it’s obvious! Why don’t they do something useful?”

However, there are many things that were once widely believed to be true which turned out to be false and it is certain there are more to be revealed.

The human brain is an extraordinary organ but sometimes it cuts corners. Not all illusions are optical, with our tendency to see patterns where they do not exist – wrongly giving meaning to random, chance events – being just one way that our mind can play tricks on us.

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So scientific studies into things that we think we already know are valuable in that they help us sift the urban myths from reality, thereby helping us to understand the world better.

The researchers expressed the hope that greater awareness of ‘hanger’ would help people to avoid “negative emotions and behaviours”. So if you’re still feeling annoyed, have a banana.


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