Ever invest on an empty stomach?
Does hunger affect risk aversion? A new study, written up on the British Psychological Society blog, says it does. Researchers had 19 males play a gambling game after a long fast; immediately after a 2,000-calorie meal; and one hour after the meal. The immediate effect of the meal was neutralizing: the more risk-averse men were less cautious when playing immediately after eating, and the opposite was true for less risk-averse men. An hour after eating, men who felt less hungry played more cautiously. “This parallels findings in foraging animals,” said Mkael Symmonds, one of the study’s authors, “where changes in metabolic state promote changes in behavior to maintain or reach a metabolic benchmark (to take more risk if intake rate is relatively low, and less risk if intake is relatively high), but here we see the effect in the economic domain.” The researchers point out that their findings may have implications for the obese, dieters, and people with eating disorders. (And, of course, traders.)
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