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Appetite. 1999 Jun;32(3):395-404.

A figurative measure of subjective hunger sensations.

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Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3308, USA.


In an attempt to better characterize the subjective experience of hunger, we assessed the locus and extent of sensations associated with varying degrees of hunger. In the first study, 83 subjects indicated by marking on a drawing of a human figure where they felt hungry under hypothetical conditions of slight to extreme hunger. Approximately 55% of subjects indicated an abdominal locus with slight hunger, a proportion which increased somewhat with increasing levels of imagined hunger. The proportion of subjects indicating other or additional body sites grew significantly with increasing hunger states; for example, those identifying the head region increased from about 10-35%. In a second study, 14 subjects were fasted for 22 h and then refed. Using the drawn figures, they outlined body areas where they experienced hunger during and after fasting. The size of the abdominal area and the total body area associated with hunger sensations expanded with increasing food deprivation and contracted after refeeding. The size of the area of hunger sensation did not necessarily correlate with the degree of hunger as assessed by standard rating scales. The results indicate that the extent and locus of hunger sensations vary with fasting and feeding, and suggest that the site and size of the body areas associated with hunger sensations may provide qualitative and quantitative measures of the subjective experience of hunger not captured by analogue rating scales.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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