Drink lots and lots of coffee, they said. Stop putting artificial sweetener in it, they said. Here’s some butter for your coffee, they said. And now: if you take your coffee black, you could be a psychopath. What in the what?

A new study, published in the journal Appetite, reveals people who have bitter taste preferences could also exhibit psychopathic tendencies. Researchers at Innsbruck University in Austria surveyed 500 men and women, reports the Independent. First, they were shown a list of food and drink items categorized as bitter, sweet, salty and sour, then, they rated the foods —which included bacon, lemons, candy and coffee—on a six-point scale.

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Next, participants were asked to fill out four personality questionnaires which measured their aggression levels and assessed personality traits of Machiavellianism, psychopathy and narcissism. They also answered questions relating to the “Big 5” personality traits of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Finally, they completed the “Comprehensive Assessment of Sadistic Tendencies,” which also sounds like something they could use on OkCupid and Tinder.

The results of the study showed bitter taste preferences to be “positively associated with malevolent personality traits, with the most robust relation to everyday sadism and psychopathy.” Cool news for this black coffee-drinker.

You know what’s also on the list of examples for bitter tastes, besides coffee? Tonic water, celery and beer. Looks like we’re all psychopaths.


Contact the author at marie.lodi@jezebel.com.

Image via Shutterstock.