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Black Coffee Drinkers More Likely To Be Psychopaths: Study

10/14/2015 06:03 EDT | Updated 10/14/2015 06:59 EDT

Many coffee drinkers prefer their joe black. And new research shows their tastes can say a lot about their personalities.

A study out of the University of Innsbruck in Austria found that a taste for bitter food and drinks is "positively associated" with traits such as psychopathy and everyday sadism.

The study's results, which appeared in the journal Appetite, came out of two experiments involving 953 people in total.

Researchers Christina Sagioglou and Tobias Greitemeyer had participants fill out a questionnaire asking about their food preferences.

They also asked questions related to traits such as narcissism, psychopathy, Machivellianism and the "Big Five" personality factors.

They determined that tastes for bitter foods, such as black coffee, beer, radishes and celery (participants called these the "most bitter" foods in the study), were linked to malevolent traits.

They found a particularly strong connection between a preference for bitter taste and everyday sadism.

Those that preferred sweet tastes, meanwhile, were more likely to be agreeable.

Humans have an innate taste for sweet food; it provides energy and essential nutrients, said a 2012 study in The Journal of Nutrition.

The inverse is also true of many humans. They have been known to avoid bitter foods, because such a taste has been linked with toxins, say the authors of the Appetite study.

While some among us can learn to appreciate the more bitter things in life, previous research has shown that a bitter-tasting food or drink can elicit both harsher moral judgments and interpersonal hostility.

Enjoying black coffee doesn't necessarily mean you're a psychopath, or a sadist. But the study gives us reason to wonder about people who will take a straight cup at Tim Hortons over a double-double.

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