Bad news, all you lovers of black coffee. A new study published in the journal Appetite (yes, there’s a journal for everything these days) found that people who prefer the taste of bitter foods — dark chocolate, coffee, IPAs, etc. — also tend to exhibit more antisocial personality traits than their cream and sugar-loving friends. That is, if they even have friends.
In the study, conducted at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, 500 participants (paid sixty cents each!) were given a list of 40 food and drink items categorized by taste and asked to rate their preference for each item on a scale from one (“nope”) to six (“give it to me now!”). Then they were asked to fill out four different personality tests, which assessed their levels of aggression, narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and all those other fun antisocial traits.
The findings? According to the abstract of the study, “bitter taste preferences are positively associated with malevolent personality traits, with the most robust relation to everyday sadism and psychopathy.” Yikes.
[Also, what the hell is “everyday” sadism? Just average, run-of-the-mill sadism? Do the Austrians have so much sadism that they need to categorize it by level? -ed]
The question of why this bitter food/antisocial corollary exists still remains. Why do people with “dark personalities” gravitate toward bitter-tasting foods and drinks? Unfortunately, science hasn’t addressed that question yet, but likely the answer is, “it’s complicated.” As in, it’s a complicated mix of psychology and biology that’s probably also very individual to each person. Which means that we’ll just have to be satisfied with judging our dates based on the beer they order. And if you’re going out and want to hide your crazy, maybe get a mai tai or something.