Gambling on an empty stomach

When we are hungry, our decisions change. We might become more short tempered, or behave rashly. We investigated what kinds of behaviours change, by studying decision making in healthy people when they were hungry, and when they were full (van Swieten et al, Brain and Behaviour 2023). We take two types of risk. In one case, we might know the risks. Maybe we were told explicity. In the other case, we estimate the risks based on experiences and previous events. We have learned by experience. Our study demonstrated that hunger makes us more risk-taking, but only for decisions made from experience — explicit risks were unaffected by hunger.