A new study by researchers at the University of Innsbruck revealed that people who enjoy bitter tastes also show signs of having antisocial personality traits.
Around 1000 adults, both men and women, participated in two studies conducted by psychologists Christina Sagioglou and Tobias Greitemeyer.
They were asked to write down how much they enjoyed sweet, sour, salty and bitter tastes. They then took personality tests to assess for antisocial behaviors such as aggression, manipulation, narcissism, psychopathy and everyday sadism.
Researchers were able to find a clear connection between a preference for bitter tastes and antisocial tendencies.
“The results of both studies confirmed the hypothesis that bitter taste preferences are positively associated with malevolent personality traits, with the most robust relation to everyday sadism and psychopathy,” according to the study, recently published in Appetite magazine.
Participants who preferred bitter flavors, such as black coffee, tonic water, radishes and celery were more likely to exhibit anti-social personalities, as compared to those who preferred sweets.
Previous studies by a number of sociological researchers have shown that there is a direct relation between what you eat and how others perceive you. For instance, one study concluded that people who like sweet foods are likely to be seen by strangers as agreeable and “nice.”
But wait, it’s not just black coffee. A new study published in Appetite looks at American taste preferences and found that people whose tastes tend towards the bitter—radishes, beer, and celery—were also more likely to score higher on tests measuring traits in the “Dark Triad”: psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism, as well as “everyday sadism”.
So should you start testing any new friends by casually offering them a radish, before moving any further? Possibly! But only because it would be a fun thing to do. You see, there’s a big problem with how the researchers got their data, because, when it comes to food, people (and not just ones with traits in the Dark Triad) are liars.
The lies are not necessarily deliberate or always even consciously, since, with a few exceptions, our food preferences are very much shaped by the moment.