You Are More Inclined to Help the Poor, When You Need Calories


money dollars

A little diversion from cancer…

Since the Enlightenment, we have believed that people make up their minds about politics by weighing the pros and cons. Now, we have research that suggests that people who are hungry are more inclined to be supportive of the welfare state and help the poor.

The Study: Investigators asked a group of test subjects to fast for four hours after which they gave the subjects a soda (Sprite, actually) or a sugar free Sprite Zero. One group had high sugars, and the other low blood sugar. The group with low blood sugar levels were more inclined to support a left-wing welfare policy tun the group with high blood sugar.

The Investigators’ Two Cents: Over the course of human evolutionary history, a critical issue has always seem to secure enough food. We human animals, who live in groups and are exceptionally skilled at managing social situations, always have one extraordinary option if the hunt should fail: we can ask the more fortunate people to share their spoils with us. And if we are to believe a number of anthropological studies, this is precisely what people do across the globe.

Reference: L. Aaroe and MB Petersen. Hunger Games: Fluctuations in Blood Glucose Levels Influence Social Support for Social Welfare. Psychological Science 2013l

But Wait: There are results of a supplementary survey in which the authors first asked test subjects to state their position regarding the welfare state – and then they gave money, which the subjects could choose to keep for themselves or share with a fellow test subject. Despite the fact that the hungry subjects had just confirmed the importance of helping there, they were no more inclined to share their money with others when given the chance!

Interesting, but proves little… I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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