Do You Get Hangry? Psychologists Say It’s Real

In “I’ve been saying this for years” news, hanger is real. That intersection between being hungry and getting angry has an emotional basis, according to scientists. Snickers has also known this for years, though fact checking an ad campaign isn’t always a good idea. But this one is true: you’re not you when you’re hungry. Even the Oxford English Dictionary added hangry as an official word in 2018.

A group of European psychologists asked people to rate their hunger, anger, irritability, pleasure, and arousal on a scale of 0 to 100 at random times throughout the day for three weeks. They found that everything except arousal was associated with hunger. People were more angry and irritable and felt less pleasure the hungrier they were.

The Hulk yelling in The Avengers
Marvel Studios

The psychologists controlled for multiple factors like sex, age, dietary habits, and weight but admitted other factors are at play. The peer-reviewed journal PLOS One published the results. The scientists included irritability as a more likely association with hunger than actual anger. But “irritaunger” or “hungitability” just don’t have the same ring as a portmanteau. 

There is research into the physiological reasons behind hanger as well. And plenty of anecdotal evidence, like the sad Keanu meme. It can even affect Pokémon. And it’s definitely a good thing that the Avengers got shawarma after the Battle of New York. Otherwise, they may have gotten snippy with each other and ended up in a civil war sooner.

Post-credits scene of The Avengers eating shawarma
Marvel Studios

According to The Guardian, where we first came across this news, the study came about because multiple people told the lead scientist that he got hangry. Here’s hoping that, in addition to the research to prove hanger exists, he also made some lifestyle changes to remedy that issue.

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She knows she gets hangry and tries to always have a protein bar handy so that it doesn’t become everyone’s problem. Melissa also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth. 

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