Studies have indicated that there may be a link between blood glucose levels (our body's energy) and thinking. For example, making difficult choices uses up cognitive resources (or brain power) and these resources can be restored by increasing blood glucose.
Psychological scientists X.T. Wang and Robert D. Dvorak from the University of South Dakota investigated how blood glucose levels impact the way we think about present and future rewards. Volunteers answered a series of questions asking if they would prefer to receive a certain amount of money tomorrow or a larger amount of money at a later date. They responded to seven of these questions before and after drinking either a regular soda (containing sugar) or a diet soda (containing the artificial sweetener aspartame). Blood glucose levels were measured at the start of the experiment and after the volunteers drank the soda.
The results, reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reveal that people's preferences for current versus later rewards may be influenced by blood glucose levels. The volunteers who drank the regular sodas (and therefore had higher blood glucose levels) were more likely to select receiving more money at a later date while the volunteers who drank the diet sodas (and who had lower blood glucose levels) were likelier to opt for receiving smaller sums of money immediately. These findings are suggestive of an adaptive mechanism linking decision making to metabolic cues, such as blood sugar levels.
The results indicate that when we have more energy available (that is, higher levels of blood glucose), we tend to be more future-oriented. The authors note that "the future is more abstract than the present and thus may require more energy to process. Blood glucose as brain fuel would strengthen effortful cognitive processing for future events." Conversely, having low energy (or low blood glucose levels) may make an individual focus more on the present. The finding that a diet soda drink increased the degree of future discounting suggests that artificial sweeteners may alarm the body of imminent caloric crisis, leading to increased impulsivity.
The authors conclude that if controlling blood glucose levels may affect our decisions for later versus current rewards, then "reducing the degree of fluctuation in blood glucose may offer a possible means for the treatment and intervention of some impulsive disorders, anorexia, drug addiction, and gambling addiction."
For more information about this study, please contact: X.T. Wang (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Psychological Science is ranked among the top 10 general psychology journals for impact by the Institute for Scientific Information. For a copy of the article "Sweet Future: Fluctuating Blood Glucose Levels Affect Future Discounting" and access to other Psychological Science research findings, please contact Barbara Isanski at 202-293-9300 or email@example.com
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine