Food & Drink | July 8, 2022 1:55 pm

Turns Out Science Supports the Existence of Being “Hangry”

A team of researchers found interesting results

Empty plate
Getting hangry is no fun for anyone.
Jonathan Pielmayer/Unsplash

It’s incredibly fun to say the word “hangry” — but it’s far less enjoyable to actually experience it. In 2018, “hangry” went from insightful portmanteau to an official addition to the Oxford English Dictionary, though its first use dates back to decades earlier. As an Eater article from 2019 observed, it’s a word that comes up in countless ways, from advertising campaigns to DIY apparel.

And now, a new study has revealed the scientific basis for the hangry feelings that frustrate many of us.

Smithsonian Magazine detailed the results of a new study with a very understandable origin: social psychologist Viren Swami was himself feeling hangry and decided to investigate the phenomenon using science. The result? Swami is the lead author on a paper titled Hangry in the field: An experience sampling study on the impact of hunger on anger, irritability, and affect, recently published by Plos One.

As the study’s authors write, their findings included “evidence that everyday levels of hunger are associated with negative emotionality.” The study involved talking with 64 people hailing from central Europe who reported in five times daily over the course of three weeks.

The study’s participants described their ” hunger, anger, irritability, pleasure, and arousal” for each check-in. What did the study’s authors discover? They wrote that “greater levels of self-reported hunger were associated with greater feelings of anger and irritability, and with lower pleasure.”

One interesting wrinkle? According to the study, “associations with arousal were not significant.” Evidently, even being hangry has to draw the line somewhere.