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3 Surprising Factors That Lead to Bad Decisions

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An Argument for Between-Meal Snacking

I try not to do anything on an empty stomach, but that goes doubly for decision making. That cranky, ravenous state has never been conducive to good choices and recent research has coincided with my findings. A 2008 study conducted jointly by Cambridge University and UCLA and published in Science controlled the diets of twenty participants to alter their serotonin levels and asked them to play a game. The game involved one player offering to share a portion of money with another player. If both accepted the offer, both got at least some amount of money; if the offer was rejected, no one benefited.

Under normal conditions, people generally rejected offers under one third of the total portion about 50 percent of the time. But when their serotonin levels were lower, rejection percentage increased to 80. People were more likely to act aggressively and carelessly when lacking serotonin, the feel-good chemical our brains make from tryptophan, an amino acid only found in foods like poultry, dairy, nuts, bananas, and shellfish. So when people are between meals and hungry, serotonin levels dip and crankiness–and rash decision making–increases.

Related: Best Snacks to Boost Your Mood

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Exercises, Health, Mental Wellness, Self-Help, , ,

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11:36PM PDT on Aug 14, 2013

Thank you for info.

11:33PM PDT on Aug 14, 2013

Thank you for info.

10:38PM PST on Jan 16, 2012

Thanks for the information.

9:42AM PDT on May 28, 2011


12:02PM PDT on Mar 21, 2011

Now, I know why I'm so indecisive when I'm on my period. I have noticed this a lot lately, but it might also have something to do with my sleep pattern. Having 2 little ones, both under age 5 years, has made me sleepier, especially when the youngest one (14 months old) wakes me up in the middle of the night. So, I guess, that I can blame this on both. Thanks for the article! Very interesting.

12:30PM PST on Mar 11, 2011

old news, what a waste of money that could have been spent studying something we didn't already know.

2:03PM PST on Mar 8, 2011


9:51AM PST on Mar 7, 2011

Thank you!

9:33AM PST on Mar 5, 2011


10:53PM PST on Mar 4, 2011

Very good article. i like it.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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