Are people with a sweet-tooth actually sweeter?


No, this post is not about cannibalism.

The excellent BPS Research Digest reviews a fascinating study revealing a connection between taste preferences and personality:

Students who rated their own personality as more agreeable also tended to have a stronger preference (than their less agreeable peers) for sweet foods and drinks. Among a different set of students, a stronger preference for sweet foods correlated positively with their willingness to volunteer their time, unpaid, for a separate unrelated study – considered by the researchers as a sign of prosocial behaviour. 

So, we assume that people who like sweet foods are nice people, and it turns out they are. Can this link be exploited? What if you give someone a sweet food to eat – will they feel more agreeable? Will they actually become more helpful? In two further studies, students given chocolate to eat (either a Hershey’s Kiss or a piece of Dove Silky Smooth chocolate), rated themselves as more agreeable and actually volunteered more of their time to help an unknown researcher, as compared with students given a sour sweet or a water cracker.

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