Prefer gin and tonic, dark chocolate? You might be a psychopath, says study

Scientists have linked taste preferences to everyday sadism tendencies

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A new study into human behaviour and its association with preferences has proved that people who enjoy bitter taste are bitter in real life too. They have also been linked to anti-social tendencies, sadism and psychopathic impulses.

The study was conducted on 953 people, out of which 48% were females. They were asked to rank a variety of food and drink items on a six-point scale. An associated second study featured personality questions that aimed to measure their emotional stability and "tendency towards everyday sadism."

Some of the statements in the second study were "I enjoy tormenting people" and "I sometimes replay my favourite scenes from gory slasher films." Responses to these statements helped researchers to figure out how inclined the subject was towards sadistic impulses, including narcissism, psychoticism and Machiavellianism.

The study, conducted at Innsbruck University by Dr. Christian Sagioglou and Dr. Tobias Greitemeyer, showed results that said people who preferred bitter tasting food more had more anti-social tendencies. These people have more affinity to malevolence and exhibited small to major behaviour of everyday sadism.

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The study had as its control preferences towards sweet, sour and salty taste, but the affinity towards bitterness showed more evident results. It also showed that people who have a sweet tooth are more likely to be kind and sympathetic towards others.

This observation comes as a commentary towards the impulses of people who are seen to prefer bitter alcoholic drinks such as martini, gin and tonic, etc. This can be equally relevant in case of people who like dark chocolate more than milk chocolate.

The study also mentions clinical evidence that states people who are capable of maintaining intense eye contact with others for an unusually long time have the most probability of being psychopaths.

Another unrelated study on the behaviour of psychopaths and anti-social people states that they are not the heartless monsters made out to be in popular culture. Instead, their brains are incapable of registering consequences of their actions.

This article was first published on January 1, 2018