Feeling 'hangry' is a real emotion

·1-min read

The word "hangry" - a portmanteau of hungry and angry - was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2018.

And according to new research published by Anglia Ruskin University in the U.K. and the Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences in Austria, "hanger" is a real emotion, as hunger can be associated with increased anger and irritability.

"Many of us are aware that being hungry can influence our emotions, but surprisingly little scientific research has focused on being 'hangry'. Ours is the first study to examine being 'hangry' outside of a lab. By following people in their day-to-day lives, we found that hunger was related to levels of anger, irritability, and pleasure," said Professor Viren Swami. "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. Therefore, greater awareness of being 'hangry' could reduce the likelihood that hunger results in negative emotions and behaviours in individuals."

For the study, the researchers recruited 64 adult participants who recorded their levels of hunger and various measures of emotional wellbeing over a 21-day period.

The results showed that hunger is associated with stronger feelings of anger and irritability, as well as lower ratings of pleasure.

The effects were substantial, even after taking into account demographic factors such as age and sex, body mass index, dietary behaviour, and individual personality traits.

Full study results have been published in PLOS ONE.

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