Your taste buds may indicate your personality. (Photo: Getty Images)
A study recently published in the journal Appetite had some surprising insight into the relationship between taste and personality. Specifically, the potential that those who enjoy bitter foods have sadistic tendencies.
Researchers had participants report their taste preferences, and then complete a series of questionnaires that screened for the “Big Five” factors of personality. Those who reported that they favor bitter flavors — such as black coffee, tonic water, radishes, and celery — were more likely to have “malevolent” personality traits, including narcissism, psychopathy, Machavellianism, and everyday sadism, the study found.
Other tastes (sweet, sour, and salty) had some connections to personality types, but bitterness was by far the strongest predictor of the bunch. But while the study found a link between taste in food and personality, you shouldn’t use coffee dates to weed out your friends just yet.
The study was self-reported, which means participants had to identify themselves as liking bitter tastes. As Gizmodo points out, people don’t always tell the truth about food (there are even studies to prove it). Just because someone says, or even thinks, they like bitter tastes, doesn’t mean they actually do. Plus, tastes change. You may think you hate radishes and celery only to eat them accidentally and find them delightful, or wean yourself off of cream and sugar and drink your coffee black for health reasons.
The study was also carried out in America, where palates tend to err on the syrupy sweet side of things. Do the findings indicate that countries where bitter foods play a bigger culinary role are more sadistic? No — and testing globally may help paint a clearer picture of how taste factors into personality.
So could your coffee preferences offer insight into your personality? Maybe — but we’re holding out for more research. In the meantime, you can take a more in-depth personality test here, then find out why you’re so obsessed with the results.