Visceral drives in retrospect explanations about the inaccessible past

Loran F. Nordgren*, Joop Der Van Pligt, Frenk Van Harreveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The present research demonstrates that the extent to which people appreciate the influence past visceral states have had on behavior (e.g., the influence hunger has had on food choice) depends largely on their current visceral state. Specifically, we found that when people were in a hot state (e.g., fatigued), they attributed behavior primarily to visceral influences, whereas when people were in a cold state (e.g., nonfatigued), they underestimated the influence of visceral drives and instead attributed behavior primarily to other, nonvisceral factors. This hot-cold empathy gap was observed when people made attributions about the past behavior of another person or themselves, and proved difficult to overcome, as participants could not correct for the biasing influence of their current visceral state when instructed to do so. These different attribution patterns also had consequences for people's satisfaction with their performance. Those who attributed their poor performance to visceral factors were more satisfied than those who made dispositional attributions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)635-640
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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