If you want to start preemptively drafting the next award-winning crime podcast or miniseries, maybe take a hint from this study and start stalking all your gin-drinking friends for the scoop. As it turns out, gin drinking is associated with psychopathy — as is eating and drinking any food demonstrating bitter taste preferences, like coffee, beer, radishes, tonic water, and celery. Basically, when people say they like their coffee "black as my soul," they may not be joking, y'all.
So what on earth would your taste preferences have to do with your personality? Blame your ancestors for that whole "desire to stay alive and propagate the species" business. Unsurprisingly, we tend to prefer sweet foods to bitter ones from infancy; this is borne from an evolutionary instinct to stay away from bitter foods to avoid anything that might be toxic to us. In fact, studies have shown that we have a genetic preference toward certain foods because of this.
"But I drink coffee all the time, and I'm 83 percent certain I'm not a psychopath!" you say. And to that, studies say: fair point. When it comes to certain bitter foods, we eat them so often — either for physiological reasons, or to adapt to a cultural norm — that we desensitize our nerves to the bitterness of it, essentially telling that evolutionary part of our brain to STFU. We know that coffee is perfectly safe, we see other humans enjoying it, and the alarm bells have no reason to go off in our heads. So no, your daily ~fix~ doesn't mean you're a psychopath.
But what about people who have enjoyed bitter foods from the beginning? That, my friends, is the line that separates the casual bitter food eaters from the secret psychopathic ones.
Researchers Christina Sagioglou and Tobias Greitemeyer of the University of Innsbruck surveyed a group of 1,000 participants in two studies discussed in "Individual differences in bitter taste preferences are associated with antisocial personality traits," published in Appetite in 2015. The studies weighed taste preferences in the five categories of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter against questionnaires measuring the Big Five personality traits and the Dark Triad (Machiavellianism, narcissism, and and psychopathy).
The results showed that there was, in fact, a connection between people who preferred bitter tastes. "The present research has demonstrated that bitter taste preferences are associated with more pronounced malevolent personality traits, especially robustly with everyday sadism," the researchers wrote in their conclusion.
So does this mean that your coworker who always gets extra radishes in her salad has a distinct lack of empathy and secretly sets fire to stuff just to feel alive? I mean ... probably not. (But radishes are gross, so maybe just steer clear of her desk anyway, fam.) This is less of an "ALL PEOPLE WHO ENJOY BITTER FOODS ARE PSYCHOPATHS" callout, and more of an interesting insight into further markers that may indicate psychopathy when other markers are already accounted for. And also that anybody who isn't a "dessert person" clearly is awful and deserves to get swiped left on, COME AT ME, YOU MONSTERS.