Hunger and Reduced Self-Control in the Laboratory and across the World: Reducing Hunger as a Self-Control Panacea


Ten studies link hunger to reduced self-control. Higher levels of hunger-as assessed by self-report, time since last eating, or physiology-predicted reduced self-control, as indicated by increased racial prejudice, (hypothetical) sexual infidelity, passivity, accessibility of death thoughts and perceptions of task difficulty, as well as impaired Stroop performance and decreased self-monitoring. Increased rates of hunger across 200 countries predicted increased war killings, suggestive of reduced aggressive restraint. In a final experiment, self-reported hunger mediated the effect of hungry (v fed) participants performing worse on the Stroop task, suggesting a causal relationship of hunger reducing self-control.

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Gailliot, M. (2013). Hunger and Reduced Self-Control in the Laboratory and across the World: Reducing Hunger as a Self-Control Panacea. Psychology, 4, 59-66. doi: 10.4236/psych.2013.41008.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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