Do Bitter People like Bitter Food Better?

Mar 05, 2016 10:31 PM EST | By Josine Macaspac (


It might seem that we're pulling your leg, but this is the real deal. Innsbruck University scientists in Austria conducted a study on 1,000 subjects and concluded that bitter people surprisingly enjoy bitter food.

Deceitful, self-centered, remorseless. Conceited, egotistical, vicious, arrogant-even psychopathic. These kinds of dark personalities have quite the fondness for tastes that the remainder of the population would describe as bitter. We are pertaining to black coffee, unsweetened cocoa, tonic water, and radishes.

The results of the study are the "first empirical evidence that bitter taste preferences are linked to malevolent personality traits," according to the researchers from Innsbruck University. They conducted two experiments involving a total of 1,000 people. They added, "The results suggest that how much people like bitter-tasting foods and drinks is stably tied to how dark their personality is."

In one experiment, 500 test subjects, averaging the age of 35, were given a long list with equal numbers of sour, salty, sweet, and bitter foods. They were then asked to rate the foods according to their liking in a scale of one to six, ranging from liking strongly to disliking strongly.

Thereafter, the participants were asked to answer four distinct personality questionnaires. One questionnaire tested levels of aggression. There was also one test that relates to the "Big 5" personalities of agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness to experience, and extraversion. Another aimed to test for Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism. Some of the questions under this test were "I tend to manipulate others to get my way", "I tend to be callous or insensitive" and "I tend to want others to pay attention to me". The last test is called "Comprehensive Assessment of Sadistic Tendencies", which determines the participant's probability to engage in everyday sadism.

A second study was conducted with an additional pool of 450 people, which just affirmed what the first concluded. "General bitter taste preferences emerged as a robust predictor for Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism and everyday sadism," the scientists published in the journal Appetite.

While the researchers did not or were not able to provide an exact explanation for the correlation of psychopathic tendencies and bitter foods, the author of the study, Dr. Christina Sagioglou, compared eating bitter foods to a "rollercoaster ride where people enjoy things that induce fear." They also considered that these people could get some sort of thrill from eating such bitter foods.

Do you agree with this article? Tell us what you think in the comments!

© 2018 Food World News. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


Get the Most Popular Food Stories in a Weekly Newsletter
Food Biz
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Launches Big Yellow Box Catering Options

Big Yellow Box by Dickey's Barbecue Pit is convenient and compact and is ideal for small groups, for any occasion.


Check out London's first and brand new cheese conveyor belt restaurant

London is now having its first-ever cheese conveyor belt restaurant, and it's going to be cheesy.

Food Tech
do sous vide

Why Should You Do Sous Vide in Your Kitchen

Sous Vide cooking has become a popular cooking technique in the last few years, with all the introduction of cooking shows to the mass media.

Direct Delivery

Shake Shack Upgrades App With Direct Delivery, and Caters Drive-Thru Only

The Shake Shack app now offers direct delivery.

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf launches new app for direct delivery

You can now order your favorite drinks and snacks from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf through their mobile app.

Real Time Analytics