People Who Prefer Bitter Tastes Are More Likely To Be Psychopaths, Study Says

On the rare occasion I go out for drinks, I always order a gin and tonic. I like the slight bitterness and more notably, the lack of sweetness — I can’t bear all those fruity cocktails and I’m not a wine or beer lover, so this is a natural choice. Apparently, that’s an issue since a new study suggests that G&T drinkers are more likely to be psychopaths.

  1. Hang on a minute… Researchers at Innsbruck University in Austria recently published data in Appetite gathered from 953 people regarding their preferred foods and drinks. The results were overwhelming: those who like more bitter flavors tend to have higher instances of some rather problematic traits.
  2. Preference for bitter tastes is linked to psychopathy. Researchers found that those who like drinking gin and tonics and eating foods like pickles were more likely to display qualities such as sadism, narcissism, psychoticism, and Machiavellianism. Eek, that’s not good!
  3. Two separate studies confirmed this finding. According to study authors Dr Christian Sagioglou and Dr Tobias Greitemeyer, “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. Regression analyses confirmed that this association holds when controlling for sweet, sour and salty taste preferences and that bitter taste preferences are the overall strongest predictor compared to the other taste preferences.”
  4. Researchers are pretty convinced by these results. “The data thereby provide novel insights into the relationship between personality and the ubiquitous behaviors of eating drinking by consistently demonstrating a robust relation between increased enjoyment of bitter foods and heightened sadistic proclivities,” they wrote in their assessment. Well, that’s unfortunate!
  5. Of course, the study is limited and wouldn’t necessarily hold up to more robust probing. Less than 1,000 people were looked at in this study and the findings are also based on self-reporting from participants, so it’s not necessarily fair to say that the results of this study are particularly conclusive. However, they are interesting and worth thinking about!
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