Gambling While Hungry: The Unusual Boost

Gambling while hungry may be beneficial, and it may boost calculative decision effectiveness. A Utrecht University, Netherlands, study has revealed   Hungry individuals pay out before their satiated counterparts. Additionally, they may make better decisions.

The “Hot State”

chips and cardsHunger induces high emotional levels—wherein individuals make quick decisions. This state, dubbed a “hot state” by leading researchers, can be hyper-rational, depending upon surrounding circumstances. Utrecht scientists have revealed a link between the hot state and gambling, and hunger-induced individuals

Researchers propose factual evidence supporting improved decision making within specified conditions. This state challenges the initial conception of “impulsiveness” where decision making is considered. While previously considered detrimental, such rashness may boost mental accommodation for specific realms, such as gambling.

Study participants were ordered to fast—removing meals from their routines the night before. As they arrived for the study, some individuals were given food. The others were not. Students undergoing several studies then tested their decision-making abilities.

The Results

The initial two studies paired students with an “Iowan Gambling Task”, wherein virtual cards are utilised for psychological analysis. The final study, meanwhile, prompted subjects for information. Subjects were asked about preferences towards either immediate, small monetary amounts or larger, future sums. Famished individuals fared better in each study.

The study proposed increased decision making with hot states—removing previous notions of irrational, impulsive decision making. Researchers have attributed the effects to “hot states in general”, beyond appetite and hunger. People aren’t necessarily more impulsive, they concluded, but rely upon their gut instincts—benefiting complex decisions within uncertain outcomes.

Where gambling is considered, impulsivity may not be so bad, and states capable of inducing such demeanours may subtly improve decision-making operations. While not unilateral, gambling effectiveness, it seems, may receive surprising benefits.