What makes a person obnoxious?

Hunger that makes you aggressiveHangry got to Not be

Some people become obnoxious if they don't eat something as soon as they're hungry. That is called Hangry - a combination of hungry and angry. Psychologists have investigated why this is so.

The simple physiological explanation of why some people become hangry is falling blood sugar levels. But that would mean that we can't help it if we get hangry. But it's not that simple. Because not everyone is immediately angry when they are hungry.

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Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill did two different experiments. In the first, they examined whether external circumstances influence the hangryness. To this end, the researchers showed hungry and full study participants pictures that were supposed to evoke sometimes positive, sometimes neutral and sometimes negative emotions. Then they showed them a Chinese character that the test subjects did not understand - a kind of neutral symbol that they should rate positively or negatively.

How to control your hangryness

Hungry participants who had previously seen a negative picture were more likely to rate the Chinese character negatively. Jennifer MacCormack, PhD student and one of the authors of the study, believes that hunger affects how some people perceive their environment. So when we are in a bad mood, hunger may also make us see the world around us negatively.

"If you're feeling this kind of activated unpleasant state then it's possible that hunger is actually shaping the way that you're viewing the world around you."
Jennifer MacCormack, PhD student and one of the authors of the study

So being Hangry works a bit like the opposite of rose-colored glasses. It changes our view of things - for the worse. But that could also be due to the inner attitude. That's why the researchers tested exactly that in a second experiment. It was about how aware the participants were of their own feelings. And it turned out that the people who were hangry, but knew that hunger was the cause, had better control over themselves. So were less hangry.

"It might seem obvious but kind of a first step is obviously being aware when you're hungry."
Jennifer MacCormack, PhD student and one of the authors of the study

The researchers also have specific tips on what helps against being hangry:

  • Eat regularly
  • If we are already hangry and cannot eat something right away, we should consciously tell ourselves that we are only in a bad mood because of hunger

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