Does Drinking Black Coffee Mean You’re a Psychopath?
Well, not exactly. But a recent study by the University of Innsbruck did show that there was a correlation between some negative personality traits and a liking for bitter flavours.
About the study
In the study, over 1,000 participants were asked to rate how much they liked certain flavors, and they were also given a few different personality tests.
People who liked bitter tasting foods like black coffee, tonic water and radishes were also more likely to test positive for personality traits associated with narcissism, psychopathy, machiavellianism and sadism. Nice!
Will Black Coffee Make Me a Psycho?
It just means that people with those traits are more likely to enjoy bitter flavors. Black coffee isn’t bad for your humanity, we promise. Coffee is definitely still good for you.
Why the correlation, then? Well, the theory goes that psychopaths enjoy taking risks. Bitter flavors found in nature are often from plants that are poisonous.
One of the scientists behind the study, Dr Christina Sagioglou, compared bitter tastes to a roller-coaster ride. Bitter tastes make psychopaths taste good because they get a thrill from the alarm bells their primitive brains are ringing.
It’s probably worth noting that psychopath is not the same thing as serial-killer. Although the media uses both terms interchangeably, not all psychopaths kill. That doesn’t mean they’re good company, though.
Psychopaths are amoral; they know what they’re doing is wrong, they just don’t care. Some people say the same about adding milk to coffee.
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The study did also show a correlation between the more agreeable personality traits and enjoying sweet flavours.
People who are kind, sympathetic and cooperative tended not to like bitter flavors, giving truth to that old Searchers song, Sweets for my Sweet.
Jumping to Conclusions
How reliable is the study? It included over a thousand people, but it was a ‘self-reported’ study where participants filled out their own results.
Everyone who took part was paid, but only a very small amount. So it makes you wonder whether they would have taken the time to give reliable answers.
Does this mean that if you’re on a date and he or she starts with a gin & tonic, then moves on to a radish salad and forgoes desert in favour of a black coffee, you should run for the hills?
Well, there are more reliable signs you’re dating a psychopath than enjoying bitter flavors. It might make a good conversation starter, though?
And if you are now craving for some black coffee, here's an article on how to drink it!