Why Shopping On An Empty Stomach Is A Bad Idea

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By Tom Jacobs

Remember your mother’s advice not to go grocery shopping when you’re hungry? Well, newly published research suggests her wise warning didn’t go far enough.

It implies the famished shouldn’t go shopping at all.

A research team led by Alison Jing Xu of the University of Minnesota reports that hunger “is likely to activate general concepts and behavioral knowledge associated with acquisition,” making one more likely to purchase even non-food products.

A growling stomach doesn’t increase the appeal of these inedible items; rather, it appears to activate a need to acquire something, anything. So if you shop while hungry, don’t be surprised if you come home, open your bag and ask, “What was I thinking when I bought this?”

In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Xu and her colleagues describe five studies that support this proposition. In two of them, the participants (89 and 63 undergraduates, respectively) examined binder clips from Staples, and were told they could take home with them as many as they’d like.

In the first study, the students reported how hungry they felt. In the second, the researchers made sure some were hungrier than others by having them engage in a purported “taste —> Read More Here


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