There’s a difference between being hungry and hangry, according to research published in the journal, “Emotion.”
You’re ‘hungry’ when your body sends cues that it needs nourishment.
You’re ‘hangry’ when you become irritable or bad-tempered because you’re hungry.
“We’ve all felt hungry, recognized the unpleasantness as hunger, had a sandwich and felt better,” writes study lead author Jennifer MacCormack. “We find that feeling hangry happens when you feel unpleasantness due to hunger but interpret those feelings as strong emotions about other people or the situation you’re in.”
The researchers found that hunger can be turned to anger when a hungry person is “primed” with negative images or circumstances.
In those situations, the unpleasantness of feeling hungry is psychologically interpreted as negative emotions toward a given situation.
“So there seems to be something special about unpleasant situations that makes people draw on their hunger feelings more than, say, in pleasant or neutral situations,” say MacCormack.
You can read more about the research here.