Hunger, Satiety, and Decision-Making: A Review and Extension
McKee, Robert Austin
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Illuminated by diverse fields such as neuroscience, physiology, gastroenterology, gastronomy, nutrition, and economics, the present study explores the roles of hunger and satiety in various decision-making contexts, including temporal discounting, risk propensity, and (un)ethicality. Through this integration of broad research streams, I aspire to achieve some degree of consilience within the literature and to help broaden the scope of organizational behavior by considering robust findings from nontraditionally-related fields. In order to accomplish this, a research study was conducted wherein participants, having fasted overnight, arrived at the experimental setting and were randomly assigned to either a hunger or a satiety condition. I hypothesized that being in a state of hunger (versus satiety) would cause people to 1) discount the future more (or more strongly desire more imminently available rewards), 2) exhibit higher risk propensity, 3) act more unethically (i.e., cheat more), and 4) act less extraordinarily ethically (i.e., give less money to charity). Despite participants’ lack of compliance with the experimental manipulation resulting in a lower-than-intended strength of manipulation, Hypothesis 2 was supported. Fluctuating states of hunger and satiety occur naturally as a consequence of the myriad physiological, environmental, and subjective determinants of eating behavior. Because we generally fast overnight and sometimes skip meals, such states are part of our everyday lives. Thus, this study has important practical implications for managerial practice, ranging from managing personal decision-making to managing the decision-making of others, including when to schedule meetings and negotiations around meal times considering the mindset most appropriate (e.g., risk-seeking versus risk-averse) given the outcome of preference.