Hunger increases delay discounting of food and non-food rewards

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Description: How do our brains' valuation systems change to homeostatically correct undesirable psychological or physiological states, such as those caused by fasting? There is abundant evidence that fasting will increase the salience of proximate food rewards: don't go food shopping when hungry. However, it is not understood how fasting modulates delay discounting (the devaluation of delayed rewards) for non-food items. With a repeated-measures design and an experimental fasting manipulation, we find strong evidence that fasting causes large increases in delay discounting for food, with an approximately 22% spillover effect to non-food commodities. Our results support the emerging view that hunger has widespread affects on many decision making mechanisms, and we implicate delay discounting as one of these affected mechanisms. Given that strong delay discounting can cause negative outcomes in many non-food (consumer, investment, medical, or inter-personal) domains, our data suggest a role for cautionary decision making when hungry.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

This project represents an accepted preprint submitted to PsyArXiv . Learn more about how to work with preprint files. View preprint


This is the OSF project for the paper: Skrynka, J. & Vincent, B. T. (in preparation) Subjective hunger, not blood glucose, influences domain general time preference. Feedback and constructive criticism is welcomed, Data and analysis scripts will be added in the near future. CURRENT STATUS: Not peer reviewed. Cite at your own risk.


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