Social Welfare and the Psychology of Food Sharing: Short-Term Hunger Increases Support for Social Welfare

Political Psychology, Forthcoming

36 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2012 Last revised: 12 Jun 2013

See all articles by Michael Bang Petersen

Michael Bang Petersen

Aarhus University - Department of Political Science

Lene Aarøe

Aarhus University - Department of Political Science

Niels Jensen

Aarhus University

Oliver Curry

University of Oxford

Date Written: January 15, 2013

Abstract

Do politically irrelevant events influence important policy opinions? Previous research on social welfare attitudes has emphasized the role of political factors such as economic self-interest and ideology. Here, we demonstrate that attitudes to social welfare are also influenced by short-term fluctuations in hunger. Using theories in evolutionary psychology, we predict that hungry individuals will be greedier and take more resources from others while also attempting to induce others to share by signaling cooperative intentions and expressing support for sharing, including evolutionarily novel forms of sharing such as social welfare. We test these predictions using self-reported hunger data as well as comparisons of subjects who participated in relevant online studies before and after eating lunch. Across four studies collected in two different welfare regimes — the UK and Denmark — we consistently find that hungry individuals act in a greedier manner but describe themselves as more cooperative and express greater support for social welfare.

Keywords: Social Welfare, Political Attitudes, Evolutionary Psychology, Resource Depletion, Hunger, Sharing

Suggested Citation

Petersen, Michael Bang and Aarøe, Lene and Jensen, Niels and Curry, Oliver, Social Welfare and the Psychology of Food Sharing: Short-Term Hunger Increases Support for Social Welfare (January 15, 2013). Political Psychology, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2091536 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2091536

Michael Bang Petersen (Contact Author)

Aarhus University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Bartholins Allé è
DK-8000 Aarhus, 8000
Denmark

Lene Aarøe

Aarhus University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Nordre Ringgade 1
Aarhus, DK-8000
Denmark

Niels Jensen

Aarhus University ( email )

Nordre Ringgade 1
Aarhus, DK-8000
Denmark

Oliver Curry

University of Oxford ( email )

ICEA, Anthropology
64 Banbury Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX2 6PN
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.oliverscottcurry.com

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