A person's preference in eating and drinking may be closely linked to psychopathic tendencies, a recent study revealed. Eating and drinking often satisfy the most fundamental human needs, researchers say, and it may possibly be the psychological connection between the sense of taste and the personality.
To find accurate answers, a group of experts from the Innsbruck University in Austria surveyed people regarding their taste for bitter or sweet coffee. The researchers concluded that a person's choice can reflect their personality traits.
In a study published in the journal Appetite, experts studied how preferences for bitter tastes were linked to antisocial personality traits. Over 500 people were asked to measure their preferences for specific food samples including bacon, chocolate cake, vinegar and radishes. Another group of people were asked with direct questions regarding their preference for bitter, sweet, sour, or salty food. They also answered four personality tests.
In the first personality test, respondents answered a questionnaire on their level of self-awareness with statements regarding aggression. The statements were "Given enough provocation, I may hit someone," "When making fun of someone, it is especially amusing if they realize what I'm doing," and "I enjoy tormenting people."
In the second personality test, respondents assessed their personality traits with statements such as "I tend to be callous or insensitive," or "I tend to want others to pay attention to me." These questions were related to Machiavellianism, psychopathy and narcissism.
In the third personality test, the questions were heavily based on the person's different psychological traits measured by the Big 5 or the openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
Lastly, the participants completed the Comprehensive Assessment of Sadistic Tendencies, which evaluated a person's inclination to everyday sadism.
Researchers said that the results provided an association between personality and the ubiquitous eating behaviors of a person, especially because eating provides personal enjoyment, satisfaction, and sometimes, heightened sadistic tendencies. While bitter preferences were linked to malevolent personality traits, the opposite is linked to kindness and affable personalities.
Professor Christina Sagioglou, lead author of the study, compared eating bitter foods "to a rollercoaster ride where people enjoy things that induce fear."
"To quote Paul Rozin for an explanation: 'For the case of innately aversive foods, there may be pleasure from the fact that the body is signaling rejection, but the person knows there is no real threat'," added Sagioglou.
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