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Are Impulse Buyers Influenced By Low Blood Sugar Levels?

January 25, 2010: 02:13 PM EST
People's preferences for an immediate versus a postponed reward may be influenced by blood glucose levels, U.S. researchers have found. In the study, volunteers whose blood sugar levels were high from drinking sugary sodas were more likely to choose to receive a larger sum of money later. Volunteers who drank diet sodas, and had lower blood glucose levels, tended to choose smaller sums of money immediately. The findings suggest, researchers said, that artificial sweeteners may warn the body of imminent caloric crisis, leading to impulsive behavior. An adaptive mechanism, they say, apparently links gratification decisions to metabolic cues.
X.T. Wang and Robert D. Dvorak, "Sweet Future: Fluctuating Blood Glucose Levels Affect Future Discounting", Psychological Science, January 25, 2010, © Association for Psychological Science
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