When you go from hungry to 'hangry'

Story highlights

  • New findings suggest that feeling hangry occurs when hunger-induced negativity gets blamed on the external world
  • Data suggest that paying attention to feelings may short circuit the hangry bias and even help reduce hanger

Have you ever been grumpy, only to realize that you're hungry?

Many people feel more irritable, annoyed, or negative when hungry -- an experience colloquially called being "hangry." The idea that hunger affects our feelings and behaviors is widespread -- from advertisements to memes and merchandise. But surprisingly little research investigates how feeling hungry transforms into feeling hangry.
Psychologists have traditionally thought of hunger and emotions as separate, with hunger and other physical states as basic drives with different physiological and neural underpinnings from emotions. But growing scientific evidence suggests that your physical states can shape your emotions and cognition in surprising ways.