Researchers from The U featured in prominent psychology journal

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Do fluctuating blood glucose levels impact a person’s behavioral impulses? A study by two researchers at The University of South Dakota seems to indicate that impulsive behavior can be influenced by factors such as rising and falling blood glucose levels.

The results from this study, which was conducted by X.T. Wang, a USD psychology professor and part of the Human Factors Department at The U, and graduate student Robert Dvorak, will be published in the upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science and one of the top psychology journals in the United States. The study indicates that blood glucose can positively or negatively influence an individual’s body energy balance as well as their behavior.

Wang's study included volunteers, who were required to fast before going through the program, as data was collected based on personal information as well as separate experiments involving blood glucose checks, decision-making tasks and consumption of two varieties of caffeine free soda. Taking into account life-history, daily adjustments and future "discounting," which is when people discount the future when they value present goods over future goods, the article suggests that the adaptive mechanism linking human decision making to metabolic cues could be more dynamic than assumed.

By regulating blood glucose levels, their research concludes, treatment and intervention might be able to curb compulsive and impulsive behaviors, including anorexia, drug addiction and gambling addiction. For more about Psychological Science, please go to www.psychologicalscience.org/ while additional information regarding the human factors laboratory at USD can be found at www.usd.edu/hfnews/.

A photo of Wang is available for download at www.usd.edu/urelations/images/XT_Wang.jpg while a photograph of Dvorak is available for download at www.usd.edu/urelations/images/Rob_Dvorak.jpg.