- Bitter taste preferences are associated with traits related to the darker side of personality.
- Prenatal and early taste experiences are critical in shaping taste preferences, possibly throughout the lifespan.
- Sweet taste experiences are related to personality processes and, in particular, those bitter taste experiences are causally linked to hostile thoughts and behavior.
Taste preferences are related to personality traits of a person. Those who prefer food that is sweet are more friendly and are agreeable. Whereas, those who like bitter taste are psychopaths.
A group of researchers from Austria conducted a study at Innsbruck University and found that those who enjoy bitter flavors may have more than a few undesirable traits like sadism, narcissism, psychoticism and Machiavellianism.
‘Sweet taste experiences are related to personality processes and, in particular, those bitter taste experiences are causally linked to hostile thoughts and behavior.’
Machiavellianism in psychology refers to a personality trait which sees a person so focused on their own interests they will manipulate, deceive, and exploit others to achieve their goals. Machiavellianism is one of the traits in what is called the 'Dark Triad', the other two being narcissism and psychopathy.
The study of 953 people involved individuals ranking different foods and drinks on a six-point scale. Food featured in the study had bitter, sour, salty and sweet tastes.
The participants also answered a personality-based questionnaire which measured their levels of emotional stability and "tendency towards everyday sadism."
The consequent findings showed that those who preferred bitter tasting food and drink also showed more antisocial tendencies.
The study was conducted by Dr Christian Sagioglou and Dr Tobias Greitemeyer, the findings said: "Supertasting, that is, having a high sensitivity to bitter compounds, has been consistently linked to increased emotionality in humans and rats. Bitter taste experiences were shown to elicit harsher moral judgments and interpersonal hostility."
Those who enjoyed bitter foods and drinks showed more negative personality traits like narcissism, sadism.
So next time you order a gin, some dark chocolate or a nice black coffee, remember what it reveals about you.
Taste Buds in the Stomach
Growing evidence suggests that sensory cells which enable us to taste sweetness, bitterness and umami are not limited to the tongue alone. These so-called Trpm5-expressing chemosensory cells are also found in the respiratory system, digestive tract and other parts of the body.
Although their precise function in areas other than the mouth is not fully known, these sensory cells are thought to play an important "gatekeeper" role, protecting the body against bacteria and potentially harmful substances.
- Christina Sagiogloua and Tobias Greitemeyer. 'Individual differences in bitter taste preferences are associated with antisocial personality 7 traits.'Appetite (2015). doi: 10.1016/ j.appet.2015.09.031.