New study finds correlation between bitter food and psychopathic tendencies

Oct 13, 2015 at 6:15 p.m. ET
Image: Arthur Jumagdao / EyeEm / Getty Images

How you take your coffee can reveal a lot more about you than just your taste preferences; at least, that's what a new study from the University of Innsbruck in Austria claims.

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The study was led by psychologists Christina Sagioglou and Tobias Greitemeyer who studied 500 participants, both men and women, and asked them to rate on a six-point scale how much they enjoyed sweet, sour, salty and bitter foods, IFL Science reports.

The participants then completed four personality tests: one to evaluate their aggression, by asking them about whether, given enough provocation, they would hit another person, or if they have threatened people they know.

In the second test, participants took part in The Dark Triad measure, a personality construct that assesses the traits of "Machiavellianism, psychopathy and narcissism."

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Thirdly, the "Big Five" personality traits — extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and openness — were measured.

Lastly, a test called Comprehensive Assessment of Sadistic Tendencies, which measures tendencies towards "everyday sadism" was conducted.

So, what did the researchers determine?

The results, which are set to be published in the journal Appetite, found that those who preferred bitter tastes over sweeter ones were more likely to exhibit signs of "Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism, and everyday sadism." In the study, these bitter tastes were represented by strong black coffee, beer, celery, radishes and tonic water.

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The author of the study stated that "general bitter taste preferences were positively associated with psychopathy, everyday sadism, trait aggression, and negatively associated with agreeableness."

Researchers also found that "sweet taste experiences increased self-reported agreeableness and the intention to help."

So, if you want to make people think you're sweeter, then it may be time you started adding milk and sugar to your coffee!

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