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If you enjoy bitter flavours, such as gin and tonic, then I'm sorry to tell you this, but you might be a psychopath.
Psychologists from Innsbruck University in Austria, believe that those of us who like the bitter taste of tonic water, black coffee and dark chocolate are more likely to show signs of sadism, narcissism and Machiavellianism - so are more likely to derive please from the pain of other people, be cold-hearted, selfish and lack empathy. Bloody hell; quite the list that, isn't it?
The researchers carried out two experiments on 953 people. Across two different studies, men and women were shown a list of foods, including bitter, sour, salty and sweet items.
They were then asked to rate each item on a six-point scale; they were then given personality questionnaires to measure their levels of emotional stability, Machiavellianism, aggression and a 'tendency towards everyday sadism' by asking a series of (weird) questions such as 'I enjoy tormenting people'.
Lo and behold, when the researchers compared the two piles of data, they found that those who enjoyed bitter foods and drinks, also showed a tendency for all that bad stuff.
People who favoured bitter flavours, such as black coffee, were also more likely to show 'malevolent personality traits'. Credit: PA
Or, as the researchers put it: "The results of both studies confirmed the hypothesis that bitter taste preferences are positively associated with malevolent personality traits, with the most robust relation to everyday sadism and psychopathy."
And if that's not enough, researchers also said a person 'agreeableness' - the degree to which someone is kind, co-operative and sympathetic, showed a negative correlation with those who favoured bitter flavours. Seems quite conclusive this, doesn't it?
The researchers didn't offer a reason why; but Dr Christian Sagioglou, who carried out the study, said that eating bitter foods could possibly be 'compared to a rollercoaster ride where people enjoy things that induce fear'.
So, next time it's your round and your mate orders a gin and tonic just be aware they may want to secretly inflict pain on you. No big deal, right?
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