Guess who are more generous: fat people or thin people?

BuddhaIf you had to guess who would be more generous, fat people or thin people, which would you choose?

If you guessed fat people, a new study suggests you’d be right. Well, fat men anyway.

The study hypothesized – according to the abstract – that “economic decision-making differs between lean and corpulent subjects, [and] that these differences are influenced by peoples’ blood glucose concentrations and by the body-weight of their opponents.”

They tested a small group of participants, 20 lean and 20 corpulent men, who performed a set of economic games including an ultimatum game, a trust game, and a risk game, under euglycemic and hypoglycemic conditions.

(“Euglycemic” means “normal blood sugar,” which I bet you totally didn’t know, by the way. At least I didn’t know that. But I do now. Anyway…)

Thinner men were less fair and offered less money when at normal blood sugar levels, and during hypoglycemia gave more money to other thin people than to larger people. The suggestion (but not proven fact) is that fat men are nicer than thin ones.

“In the ultimatum game, lean men made less fair decisions and offered 16% less money than corpulent men during euglycemia. During hypoglycemia, study participants of both weight groups accepted smaller amounts of money than during euglycemia, indicating that a lack of energy makes subjects to behave more like a Homo Economicus. In the trust game, lean men allocated twice as much money to lean than to corpulent trustees during hypoglycemia. Risk seeking behavior did not differ between lean and corpulent men.”

The study authors conclude that “economic decision-making is affected by both, the body weight of the participants and the body weight of their opponents, and that blood glucose concentrations should be taken into consideration when analyzing economic decision-making.”

They also suggest that this bias may come into play when it comes to employment disparities between fat and thin people (overweight people earn less and are less likely to be hired for jobs than thinner people).

Another implication of the findings, particularly the part about people settling for less money during hypoglycemia, might be that you should be sure to eat a balanced meal – protein and vegetables! – before entering into any negotiations, or you might get shafted for lack of a snack.

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