Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Many of us have felt “hangry” before, but little research has explored its psychological mechanisms. We hypothesized that feeling “hangry” occurs when participants (N=653) associate bodily feelings with the context, interpreting hunger as high arousal, negative emotions. Studies 1 and 2 used an Affect Misattribution Procedure (Payne et al., 2005) to demonstrate that hungry participants are more likely to experience ambiguous stimuli as negative when seen in a negative context. In Study 3, we demonstrated that this effect occurs when participants are not explicitly focused on emotions. We manipulated hunger vs. satiation and participants’ accessibility to emotion concepts (anger vs. sadness vs. no emotion) prior to placing them in a frustrating situation. As predicted, hungry participants who did not have access to emotion concepts reported greater negative, high arousal emotions and more negative interpersonal perceptions. Implications for emotion theory are discussed.