Hunger affects people`s attitudes towards poor

ANI| Updated: Nov 12, 2013, 14:38 PM IST

Washington: A new study has shown that hunger affects our attitudes towards the welfare of the poor.

According to the research, when hungry people state their support of the welfare system, it is not so much a reflection of their concern for the poor; rather it is a strategy for securing further resources for themselves.

The study showed that people who are hungry are more inclined to be supportive of the welfare state and help the poor.

Assistant Professor Lene Aaroe from Aarhus University, who collaborates on the project with her colleague Michael Bang Petersen , said that they asked a group of test subjects to fast for four hours after which we gave them a Sprite or a sugar free Sprite Zero, asserting that one group had high blood sugar levels, while the other group had low blood sugar.

The extraordinary results suggest that the state of our bodies has a significant influence on our position on specific political issues. In order to understand why, we must look to the origin of our species.

Politics also existed in the communities of our ancestors, the hunters and gatherers who roamed the East African savannah, and their ways of handling things have left a mark on us today.

The welfare system is a system of sharing, a contemporary equivalent to the custom of our ancestors.

These are the results of a supplementary survey in which Aaroe and Petersen first asked the test subjects to state their position regarding the welfare state - and then they gave them money, which they 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 others, which is indeed characteristic of the welfare state, they were no more inclined to share their loot with others when given the chance.

The study has been published in journal Psychological Science.