If you drink your coffee black, you’re one healthy badass. You don’t need all that cream-and-sugar BS because you want that toasty bitter flavor in all its undiluted glory. You laugh in the face of PSLs and Coffee Coolattas. You may even be tempted to trycoffee with 40 times more caffeine.
But you also might be psychopath, says a new study published the journal Appetite.
Researchers gathered a sample of about 1,000 adults and asked them to rate preferences for foods with distinct flavor profiles. Then, the participants took a battery of personality tests assessing antisocial personality traits. We’re not talking skip-the-party-and-Netflix antisocial—this is the psychological kind of antisocial, categorized by behaviors that harm or lack consideration for the wellbeing of others.
When they crunched the numbers, the scientists found that a preference for bitter foods (like radishes, celery, beer and, coffee) was linked to these malevolent traits. The strongest link of all was between bitter flavors and “everyday sadism”—essentially, this is when people enjoy inflicting at least moderate levels of pain upon others, à la Regina George.
It seems crazy, but there actually is some existing science on taste preferences and personality. In previous experiments, bitter flavors have elicited hostility and harsh moral judgments from tasters. And, on the flip side, people who have a stronger preference for sweetness show more agreeableness (a hallmark of not being psychopath). (Check out14 ingredients in your coffee grounds that aren’t coffee.)
Why? It’s still way too early to tell what might be behind this link. The participants could have been affected by the stereotype that “people who like bitter foods also have a bitter personality,” the authors write. Sadists may even prefer bitter foods because of their potential to cause distaste for others. (Sick of sipping your coffee? Here are 6 ways to get your coffee fix without drinking it.)
In our eyes, though, the only logical explanation is that researchers administered these surveys before the participants had their morning coffee. Isn’t everyone a little bit of a psychopath pre-caffeine? That’s what we’re telling ourselves.