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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

A meta-analytical and experimental examination of blood glucose effects on decision making under risk

Orquin, Jacob Lund; Christensen, Jacob Dalgaard; Lagerkvist, Carl-Johan


Previous research has shown that short-term changes in blood glucose influence our preferences and may affect decisions about risk as well. However, consensus is lacking about whether and how blood glucose influences decision making under risk, and we conduct two experiments and a meta-analysis to examine this question in detail. In Study 1, using a pecuniary valuation method, we find no effect of blood glucose on willingness to pay for risky products that may act as allergens. In Study 2, using risky gambles, we find that low levels of blood glucose increase risk taking for food and to a lesser degree for non-food rewards. Combining our own and previous findings in a meta-analysis, we show that low levels of blood glucose on average increase risk taking about food. Low blood glucose does not increase risk taking about non-food rewards although this is subject to heterogeneity. Overall, our studies suggest that low blood glucose increases our willingness to gamble on how much food we can get, but not our willingness to eat food that can harm us. Our findings are best explained by the energy budget rule.


risk; blood glucose; decision making; meta-analysis; energy budget rule

Published in

Judgment and Decision Making
2020, volume: 15, number: 6, pages: 1024-1036

Authors' information

Orquin, Jacob Lund
Aarhus University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics
Dalgaard Christensen, Jacob (Christensen, Jacob Dalgaard)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics

UKÄ Subject classification

Applied Psychology

URI (permanent link to this page)