Sensation Seekers Stomach Spicier Sustenance

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The more adventurous the risk-taker, the hotter the wings. That's according to a study presented at the 2012 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting in Chicago. [Nadia Byrnes and John Hayes, Personality May Predict If You Like Spicy Foods]

Researchers assessed 184 participants using the Arnett Inventory of Sensation Seeking, a test for how much a person desires novel and intense stimulation and risky behavior.

The subjects were then given food kicked up with capsaicin, which puts the heat in chili peppers. They were asked to rate how much they liked the spicy meal as the burn from the compound increased.

Those volunteers who rated high on having a sensation-seeking personality continued to enjoy the meal as the burn intensified. Non-sensation seekers couldn’t take the heat and eschewed rather than chewed. A third group of mild thrill seekers did not like the spicy meal either, but not nearly as much as those with risk-averse personalities.

The researchers say that people who enjoy risky behavior including gambling or thrill rides might be getting the same kind of danger rush when biting into a hot pepper. Just be sure to digest all that spicy food before hitting the roller coaster.

—Amy Kraft

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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