How you take your coffee might seem like a simple question of taste, but it turns out your java order might reveal more about your personality than originally thought. A new study from Innsbruck University in Austria found that people who prefer their coffee black may be more likely to have psychopathic tendencies. (Dun, dun, dunnn!)
Researchers surveyed the tastes and personalities of 1,000 people: First, participants were shown a long list of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter foods, and were asked to rate how much they liked each of them using a six-point scale. The list included options like radishes, celery, tonic water, and coffee.
Next, they were asked to fill out four different personality questionnaires, which measured their levels of agreeableness or aggression in various scenarios, such as "Given enough provocation, I may hit someone," or "I tend to be callous or insensitive," or my favorite: "When making fun of someone, it is especially amusing if they realize what I'm doing." So basically, they were asked in varying degrees whether or not they're an asshole.
Those who preferred bitter foods and drinks tended to have darker personality traits, including "Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism, and everyday sadism." Agreeableness was also negatively correlated with bitter foods and drinks, suggesting that how much you like bitter-tasting foods and drinks is strongly tied to how dark your personality is.
While it's unclear why people with these traits prefer bitter foods, researchers suspect they might experience a "thrill" from them. In the wild, bitter plants tend to signal that they might be poisonous, which is why many of us steer clear of bitter-tasting foods. But the bunny boilers of the world may compare eating them to a "rollercoaster ride, where people enjoy things that induce fear," study author Christina Sagioglou told the Daily Mail. "We found particularly robust correlations with everyday sadism."
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Long story short: If you've been eyeing that Taylor Kitsch lookalike at Starbucks but have yet to ask him out, maybe score some intel on how he takes his coffee first. Sure, he may drink his coffee black because it's healthier, but he may also have his ex-girlfriend chained to the radiator in his basement. Like, right now.
All kidding aside, it's important to keep in mind that this is just one (small) study, and a survey of 1,000 people is hardly indicative of the entire coffee-obsessed population. Then again, my ex-bf's mom loves her coffee black, so they could be onto something...
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Black coffee image via Shutterstock