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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