Oct. 13, 2011 at 9:50 AM ET
Finally, there's some good news for people with a sweet tooth, and it comes in time for that sweet-gathering holiday, Halloween. People who prefer sweeter tastes seem to have sweeter dispositions, a new study suggests. So grab your favorite candy and read on.
Psychology researchers wondered whether there was any link between our taste preferences and personality traits. They reasoned that people tend to use "taste-related metaphors" in daily life, particularly sweet ones, like calling a romantic interest "sweetie," "honey" or "sugar."
We also use the term "sweet" to refer to someone who is kind, friendly and caring, and does nice things for others. Would individuals with a sweet spot for sugar truly show these sweet behaviors and characteristics?
In one study, 55 college students rated their liking of 50 different foods from the five major taste types: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and spicy. They also answered questions about their agreeableness.
A liking of sweets was linked with a higher level of agreeableness, meaning a tendency to be friendly, cooperative, and compassionate.
In another experiment of 55 different undergraduates, students were randomly given a sweet food (milk chocolate), an unsweetened food (a bland cracker), or no food. Then they were asked to volunteer their time to help a professor.
Students given something sweet to eat were more willing to help another person compared to the other two groups. Perhaps a sweet tooth reveals more about your personality than you realize.
Researchers have yet to investigate whether this applies to other taste-related metaphors, such as whether sourpusses have more hankerings for tart tastes or bitter "hostile" people crave bitter coffee.
The research appears in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Readers, have you noticed any links between your taste preferences and your temperament?