Do psychopaths prefer bitter or sweet foods

Psychopaths and sadists like to drink gin and tonic

GT, short for gin and tonic, is more than just a drink for many people. Bars are springing up in the big cities that don't serve anything else. It is a lifestyle that is hidden behind it: Anyone who drinks gin and tonic has style and is ready to dig deep into their pockets for the perfectly mixed long drink. But he may also have a dark personality. At least that's what a study by the University of Innsbruck suggests. It has just been published in the journal “Appetite”.

It was previously known that especially social people prefer sweet foods. Christina Sagioglou and Tobias Greitemeyer wanted to know how things are going with the bitter eaters. Do people who prefer bitter things also have a less social, more hostile personality - in reverse, so to speak?

Today it is assumed that taste preferences are to a large extent in the genes. But new research has shown that taste experiences in the womb and early childhood can influence preferences for certain tastes throughout life. It is therefore interesting for psychologists to find out how taste experiences influence personality.

Sagioglou and Greitemeyer had already shown in an earlier study that bitter taste experiences can lead people to judge others more strictly and to react more hostile. They therefore assume that people who prefer bitter foods and therefore probably also eat and drink more bitter foods are chronically negatively influenced in their personality, so to speak.

The "dark triad"

For the new study, the two researchers first asked 500 men and women from the United States about their taste preferences. The test subjects were given lists of ten foods for each of the four flavors sweet, sour, bitter and salty and were asked to indicate on a scale from 1 to 6 which of the products they particularly liked. Then you should indicate how much you liked to eat sweet, sour, bitter or salty in general.

The test persons then answered questions about their personality. The researchers used a frequently used aggression questionnaire. The test subjects indicated how much sentences like “I have threatened people I know” or “If I am provoked, I will strike” applied to them.

In a second step, they filled out a questionnaire that was used to identify personalities from the so-called “dark triad”. This triad includes Machiavellianism, the ruthless pursuit of power, psychopathy, an anti-social personality disorder, and narcissism, an unrealistically positive self-assessment and self-centeredness.

Machiavellian traits were identified in this questionnaire using sentences such as "I tend to manipulate others into doing what I say", narcissistic traits using sentences such as "I am always looking for attention" and psychopathic traits using sentences such as "I am." often insensitive to others ”. In addition, the men and women had to fill out another questionnaire on everyday sadistic tendencies.

Finally, the researchers had their test subjects answer questions about the five big personality dimensions. This model from personality psychology assumes that all people have five major personality areas to a greater or lesser extent: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, conscientiousness and tolerance.