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You’re More Liberal When You’re Hungry

You’re More Liberal When You’re Hungry

Surely, a lot of factors contribute toward your political identity, but there’s one factor you might never consider: your appetite. As Salon reports, researchers have found that your attitudes on social issues, specifically public welfare, are dependent on how recently you’ve eaten.

According to four separate studies, before eating lunch, test subjects are more likely to express sympathy for poor people and support a national welfare program. On the other hand, those who had recently lunch were more likely to fault poor people for their poverty and to oppose a welfare system. What a difference a meal makes!

Considering the implications, the conclusions seem logical. Those who are still hungry can empathize with people who are in need of food. Meanwhile, those who have recently dined aren’t experiencing that feeling of want and are less inclined to see the need in sharing with others.

One of the studies disregarded how recently the respondents had eaten, instead asking them to rate how hungry they currently felt. Ultimately, the results held up: those who said they were the hungriest were most amenable to providing fellow countrymen in need with welfare assistance.

Another study uncovered that hunger also intensifies greed. In a game scenario where participants had the option of taking resources from others, those who had not yet eaten lunch were more likely to take items for themselves, while the post-lunch crowd were not as concerned about taking from others.

Though this finding seems at odds with the selflessness of the hungry welfare supporters, scientists believe this adds to their nuanced understanding of hunger’s effect on the mind. When the opportunity arises, hungry people will take resources to care for themselves, yet they will also support an institution that can provide for them in case that becomes the best option.

The researchers also believe this mindset is a trait that has survived since the beginning of mankind. “Anthropological observations suggest that our ancestors would regularly have experienced states of hunger in which they were not able to feed themselves and their families on the basis of returns from individual foraging,” said Michael Bang Petersen, lead researcher on the project. “Given this, it is plausible that natural selection sculpted the human psychology to respond to hunger with motivations and behavior that would help the individual acquire food through means other than foraging.”

Liberals can take away a couple of lessons from this study. First, like swimming, wait at least an hour after eating before defending your politics. Second, when getting out the vote, try to make sure it happens before lunch.

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106 comments

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5:37AM PDT on Sep 18, 2013

That means Congress should go on a hunger strike!

7:48PM PDT on Sep 17, 2013

then I guess I'm always hungry! :-)))

10:48AM PDT on Sep 14, 2013

If I don't eat regularly, I'm way too shaky to think. After eating I'm raring to go - against the GOPTP and Religious Extremists...these studies aren't relevant here.

6:18AM PDT on Sep 12, 2013

Cont'd:
Anyone that has been hungry, and by that I mean unable to properly feed themselves over an extended period of time, will be more likely to have empathy for those in the same situation. It's not something you forget very easily, and it's not a matter that a full stomach would influence so easily.

6:15AM PDT on Sep 12, 2013

Another hugely misleading headline. First, this isn't about political position in general, it's about attitudes toward food programs. Second, as the one link says "Across four experiments conducted in two countries (Denmark and the U.K.), a research team found people in need of a meal are more supportive of social-welfare assistance", so it's really not very relevant to the American food stamp debate. Most importantly, these studies are not about subjects who needed a meal, 2 of them simply analyzed answers given on a survey between 11 and noon compared to answers given between 1 and 2pm and deduced that those earlier answers were from people that had no yet had lunch. A third just asked people to report how hungry they felt. Fourth wasn't detailed. (In need of a meal means that they haven't eaten long enough to need calories and nutrients to function, not that they ate a bagel at 10 and are waiting for dinner).
These are highly flawed correlations due to huge assumptions made on online survey results after the surveys had been completed. Even so, this is hardly a gauge of how liberal one thinks. Yet another misleading headline to a very loosely interpreted article reported with this author's "liberal" interpretation of already incomplete information. The Salon headline says "Hunger boosts support for welfare programs" and that's a stretch since they are assuming a lot, but then Care2 takes it much further into sensationalism.
Anyone that has been hungry, and by that I me

11:37AM PDT on Sep 11, 2013

Empathy comes from the reality check of experience.

5:49AM PDT on Sep 10, 2013

I must be an exception, when my blood sugars are low I am a b%t@h on wheels. Then I enter to Zombie mode. Is Zombie mode liberalism? Just joking.

12:07AM PDT on Sep 10, 2013

Thank you for the article & some comments.

10:58PM PDT on Sep 9, 2013

Makes me wonder...starve GOP?

9:33PM PDT on Sep 9, 2013

So smoking pot makes you more liberal,thanks to the munchies?

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