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Emotion. 2019 Mar;19(2):301-319. doi: 10.1037/emo0000422. Epub 2018 Jun 11.

Feeling hangry? When hunger is conceptualized as emotion.

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Department of Psychology and Neuroscience.


Many people feel emotional when hungry-or "hangry"-yet little research explores the psychological mechanisms underlying such states. Guided by psychological constructionist and affect misattribution theories, we propose that hunger alone is insufficient for feeling hangry. Rather, we hypothesize that people experience hunger as emotional when they conceptualize their affective state as negative, high arousal emotions specifically in a negative context. Studies 1 and 2 use a cognitive measure (the affect misattribution procedure; Payne, Hall, Cameron, & Bishara, 2010) to demonstrate that hunger shifts affective perceptions in negative but not neutral or positive contexts. Study 3 uses a laboratory-based experiment to demonstrate that hunger causes individuals to experience negative emotions and to negatively judge a researcher, but only when participants are not aware that they are conceptualizing their affective state as emotions. Implications for emotion theory, health, and embodied contributions to perception are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

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