If you prefer the bitter taste of black coffee to the syrupy sweetness of vanilla lattes, there's a greater chance you're a sadist or psychopath. A new study published in the journal Appetite indicates that the preference for bitter tastes, like that of black coffee, is linked to these often reviled traits.
According to Indy100, researchers asked more than 1,000 adults about their food and taste preferences. Participants then completed personality assessments gauging antisocial traits, including sadism, narcissism and psychopathy. According to the study co-authors, “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.”
Although sadism is often linked with serial killers or other extreme behaviors, this isn’t always the case, and these personality types are much more common than we think.
“Everyday sadists lack empathy, and they possess an internal motivation to hurt others,” researcher Erin Buckels told Everyday Health. “However, they are unlikely to act in a way that would be criminal or dangerous — at least in most contexts, where such behavior is met with social disapproval or punishment."
In a previous study, Buckels found that people who liked to kill bugs had more sadistic tendencies. She also discovered that sadists like seeing an opponent suffer, especially when they choose not to fight back. Buckels believes studies like these are important to show how prevalent these personality types really are and can be used to redefine how we think of sadism.
"Some find it hard to reconcile sadism with the concept of ‘normal’ psychological functioning, but our findings show that sadistic tendencies among otherwise well-adjusted people must be acknowledged," Buckels said in a University of British Columbia press release. "These people aren’t necessarily serial killers or sexual deviants but they gain some emotional benefit in causing or simply observing others’ suffering."
It isn’t just a taste for black coffee that warns of sadistic behavior, reports Indy100. People who liked radishes, celery and tonic water also exhibited more antisocial traits. Outside of analyzing everything your friends and family eat, there's one more way of knowing whether you're dealing with a sadist. Last year, scientists developed a quiz analyzing these traits as well as psychopathy, reports Business Insider. The questionnaire was used in a study of these traits in undergraduate students. Researchers determined that the nine-question test was also good at detecting sadism, which is in a separate category. Subjects responded to questions about specific scenarios like, “Watching people get into fights excites me,” or “I get pleasure from mocking people in front of their friends.”