The ability to make better and more advantageous decisions could be linked to how full your stomach is, new research suggests.
Researchers evaluated the effects of ‘hot states,’ like hunger, on decision-making and how they can affect one’s ability to weigh risks and rewards, according to a study by researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Different groups were asked to take a test known as the Iowa Gambling Test (IGT) which is a choice-making exercise. The test requires being presented with a series of cards in four different decks with some of the cards having penalties and others having rewards.
The study involved different groups with one group asked to fast starting the night before the test and another group who ate a breakfast. The researchers found that the participants who had not eaten were better at the task and “better able to resist choices that brought immediate rewards but were ultimately disadvantageous.”
The study provides the first evidence that decision making can be improved under hot states as opposed to the much more common hypothesis that these states can impair one’s ability to make rational decisions.