Being Hungry Affects Our Ability to See Words
Your brain is the most complex organ in the human body and probably the most complex structure in the universe. It can do some very interesting things, especially when you're hungry.
A study by psychologist Rémi Radel, of France's University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis, found that hungry people see food-related words more clearly than people who've just eaten.
Radel created an experiment in which 42 students were told to show up at noon after at least three or four hours of not eating. They were then told either to come back in ten minutes - leaving them no time to grab food - or an hour, which would provide enough time for lunch. So half the students were hungry when they did the experiment and the other half had just eaten.
During the experiment, participants looked at a computer screen. One by one, 80 words flashed on the screen for about 1/300th of a second each, in a tiny size font that was just at the threshold of what that person could consciously perceive.
After each word, the students were given two similar choices and asked to pick which one they had seen, as well as say how bright the word looked. For example, they were given options like "gateau" and "bateau" - the French words for cake and boat. The students who hadn't had lunch would generally choose the food-related words and report that those words were brighter than the other non-food words.
Since the word appeared too quickly for them to reliably see, this indicates that the difference is perceptual. According to Radel, this shows that the result is immediate, not because of some kind of processing happening in the brain after you've already figured out what you're looking at.
The hungry students' senses were primed to pick out words their brains associated with hunger. Since this happened in a time frame that was too short for the brains to consciously pick out the food-related words suggests that this could be that of pure instincts.
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