October 27, 2011
Fondness For Sweets Linked To Sweeter Personality
Scientists from Gettysburg College, St. Xavier University in Chicago, and North Dakota State University found in a recent study that people who favored sugary foods were more inclined to volunteer, help others in need and are more agreeable than those who avoid eating sweets.
The research, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, focused on sweetness and agreeability. They also noted they did not study effects of other foods, such as those that are bitter or spicy.
The researchers noted, however, that it wasn´t the type of food consumed that made people more personable, but the nature of the consumer themselves.
“Our taste studies controlled for positive mood so the effects we found are not due to the happy or rewarding feeling one may have after eating a sweet food,” Brian Meiers, a psychology professor at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, told Reuters.
Researchers sampled 500 people in five studies, testing for agreeability and sweetness levels. “It is striking that helpful and friendly people are considered ℠sweet´ because taste would seem to have little in common with personality or behavior,” Meiers added, who was surprised by the findings.
In one of the studies conducted, researchers found a similar stereotype made by others on sweets and chocolate eaters.
Participants in the study were shown photos of people with neutral facial expressions but with comments under the pictures indicating that they enjoyed eating certain sweet foods, such as chocolate.
“People rated those associated with sweet food higher in agreeableness,” said Meiers.
“There has been a push to find out how these traits are self-predicting of what we do with our daily life,” Sara Moeller, an assistant professor of psychology at Saint Xavier, told Reuters. “We are showing that with these personality traits that you show subtle aspect of self.”
The researchers also found a link between the word ℠sweet´ being used to describe a person´s personality and their preference for sweet tasting food.
“It is striking that helpful and friendly people are considered ℠sweet´ because taste would seem to have little in common with personality or behavior,” said Meiers.
On the Net:
- Gettysburg College
- St. Xavier University
- North Dakota State University
- Journal of Personality and Social Psychology