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How Skipping Lunch Can Mess Up Your Data Analysis

Text Analysis

Have you ever noticed changes in your decision-making ability pre and post-lunch? Is food shopping on an empty stomach like an episode of Supermarket Sweep? Or do the sugar shakes make you a little more irk-some than usual? Well, you’re definitely not alone.

And next time someone sarcastically asks you if you’re h-angry, say yes without shame. After all, you’re only human.  



There is irrefutable scientific evidence linking the impact of hunger on our mood. And you won’t be shocked to hear, it doesn't enhance it. 

“Hypoglycemia is a strong physiological and psychological stressor”. Prof. Francesco Leri, University of Guelph - Department of Psychology.

Hunger also has a significant impact on your ability to make non-food-related decisions.

Even our value systems change thanks to hunger. 

“Decision-makers should be cautious when making decisions while hungry.” Skrynka, J., Vincent, B.T, 2019.


Bun Lovin’ Criminals

One place you’d hope h-anger doesn’t impact influence is in the law courts. Where decisions are based on pure fact and hard evidence. And extraneous factors are minimal.

Well...get this...a study of Israeli parole boards legal rulings found that:

“The probability of a favorable decision drops from about 65% to almost 0% from the first ruling to the last ruling within each session and that the rate of favorable rulings returns to 65% in a session following a food break.” (Danziger, Levav, Avnaim-Pesso, 2011).


So, when hunger impacts the proper judicial temperament of a rational judge, then chances are, your team’s work could be tainted by the timings of their lunch break.

For those of you who dance with data, then decision-making is a big part of your team's work.

Manual tagging data, in particular, is a common decision-based process analysts and researchers are faced with.

Whether it's to quantify open-ended survey responses or to group review data in your CRM, there’s a ton of issues with this manual process:
  • The time between manual tagging and having the data to analyse
  • Human error (even after you’ve scoffed lunch)
  • The resource and time-sapping nature of this task heavy burden
  • Inconsistency - people tag things differently

Even if you have manual tagging down to a fine art. Then what about hang-fluence?



/haŋ flʊəns/


The capacity by which one’s decision making is impacted by our body's physical response to craving food.


If you’re making decisions based on the insights surfaced in your data, and those findings are the victim of a ravenous pre-lunch tagging episode - can you be sure you’re making the right recommendations?

So grab a bagel, dish out the biscuits, and unshackle your team from time-sapping, hang-fluenced manual tagging.

Empowering insights teams to get more out of text...

With a platform that's so easy to use, an eight-year-old can use it.

Customer story: Northumbrian Water use Wordnerds to save a heap of time analysing qualitative data, free of human bias (and hanger).

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