Researchers using voodoo dolls have proven the maxim that indeed “a hungry man is an angry man.” Couples are more likely to quarrel if they are “hungry”- hungry and angry says scientist.
The study, which was conducted in The Ohio State University’s department of communications and psychology, followed 107 couples, married for an average of 12 years and found a connection between levels of blood sugar and feelings of aggression towards a spouse
“People can relate to this idea that when they get hungry, they get cranky,” said lead researcher, Dr. Brad Bushman. “We found that being hungry can affect our behaviour in a bad way, even in our most intimate relationships.”
Testing this theory, Dr. Bushman and his team used an unconventional approach- using voodoo dolls and glucometers, which are used by diabetics.
Every evening for three weeks, partners were each given a voodoo doll representing their spouse and acting alone, told to stick up to 51 pins in it at the end of each day, depending on how angry their spouse had made them. At the same time, they were also required, to measure their blood sugar levels in the mornings and evenings.
The results, reported on April 14, 2014 in the journal proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed lower blood glucose in the evening coincided with more pins being stuck in dolls. Wives tended to stick more pins in than husbands, though the difference was not significant and couples who were generally happy with their relationship stuck fewer pins.
According to Dr Bushman, the outcome of the study is not astonishing as this result is exactly what past research has predicted. When your blood sugar is lower than its set baseline, your ability to control negative emotions is diminished.
Dr Nathan DeWall, a professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky and one of the study’s researchers, said the study demonstrates how self-control requires energy – energy that is in short supply when we are famished.
“Self-control, impulse control uses energy, both mental and physical. When we deplete that energy, we have a higher tendency of doing things we regret, such as hurting our loved ones.”
To remedy this all that is needed is food. Eating something sugary or carbohydrate might help calm an angry spouse reducing arguments, confrontations and even domestic violence.
Dr Bushman’s advice to couples is simple “Before you have a difficult conversation with your spouse, make sure you are not hungry”