Hunger Can Make You Crave Things Other Than Food

A new study suggests that when we're hungry, our desires can go beyond food.

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“Besides crankiness and a need to find a kitchen, hunger’s effects include a stronger desire for mundane objects like stationery. People who are hungry even seem to shop more at the mall,” writes Victoria Sayo Turner for Scientific American this weekNew research suggests that food cravings can potentially trigger cravings for nonfood items.

From Scientific American:

Researchers asked participants to fill out a questionnaire about mood, hunger, relaxation, and binder clip preferences. The participants were then given actual binder clips (the 3/4 inch variety, to be exact) and asked some strange questions: “Do you think this binder clip is easy to use?” and “How much do you like this binder clip?” After fiddling around with the clips, the probably mystified participants were asked how many they wanted to take home.The results: hungrier people requested more binder clips. Somehow, it seemed that hungry people wanted not just food, but nonfood items as well.

The researchers also suggested that hunger had an impact on shopping habits. The team stopped people exiting a department store, rating their hunger on a ten-point scale against their receipts. People with more nonfood items tended to be the hungrier ones.

While the lead author, Alison Xu, stressed to Sayo Turner that more evidence was needed, it probably wouldn’t hurt to make sure your stomach is full before your next shopping trip.

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