And sure enough, recent experiments show that you should try making important financial decisions on an empty stomach. Hunger, we're finding, alters the way we perceive risk and reward in a way that helps you make better long-term decisions, regardless of that time you came home from Walmart with one bag of every Doritos flavor on the shelf (that wasn't because you were hungry, it was because you were high). In 2014, Netherlands' Utrecht University had two groups of subjects perform a complex gambling task -- one control group, one group that had fasted for 10 hours beforehand -- that basically boiled down to "take a little money now, or hold out for more later." The hungry students tended to prefer the delayed reward. In other words, they made a good investment.
Possibly by thinking of how many more ice cream sandwiches they'd be able to buy.
And just to be clear, it wasn't as simple as the researcher asking, "Do you want $2 now or $4 next week?" It was a complicated card game in which they had to think through the consequences and chances of success over the short and long term. The hungry subjects, despite the marked lack of ramen particles flowing through their intestine, were quicker to spot the patterns that would presumably lead to future riches. It's almost as if the hunger sharpened their thinking, like the brain needed a little hunger to make the situation real. "All right, we need to get serious about this shit, because we don't want to feel like this again." Wait, is this why car dealerships always keep popcorn and dougnuts in the lobby?
Crying Can Help You in Negotiations
Movies, TV series, and every single businessperson you've ever met like to tell you that negotiations are a minefield of gains and losses where only the hardest of asses can prevail. For once, common sense agrees with them: Surely, exuding confidence during negotiations is critically important. These encounters are all about power.
Hence why you should always come with a little extra power on your side.
Science, however, disagrees; according to knowledgeable-looking men in lab coats, you've been doing negotiating all wrong (or right, only without realizing it). Here's what you need to do:
Cry, you fool. Cry like a little child.
Or whatever you can do to make a play for pity. The key is to look sad.
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"I'm sorry, it's just that my turtle-in-law died recently."
This was a finding in an experiment with more than 200 subjects -- they basically went through a complex series of role-play negotiations, trying different emotional techniques each time. "Just try to look sad" was the winner. They did the experiment three times, and the outcome was always the same. That's presumably because even a hardened negotiator is still a human being, and therefore is probably capable of feeling sympathy.
Now, like every tool, crying only works in certain situations. For example, if your billionaire boss were to cry while asking you to take a pay cut, you'd just want to punch him -- it only works when the other person perceives that you're in a position of less power than them. It also only tends to work when they think they'll have to deal with you again in the future; so crying may not do anything for the furniture salesman refusing to give you a discount on a sofa, but might work on your manager at Arbys.
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Although some Arbys managers are immune to tears, having seen so many of their own.
But honestly, we're just telling you what you've instinctively known since birth.
And also check out some home remedies don't work at all in Your Mom Lied: 5 Common Body Myths Debunked. Or get more familiar with your meat sack in 6 Freaky Things Your Body Does (Explained by Science).
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