Whether you like your food plain and bland or hot and spicy may be determined not by your taste buds, but rather your personality!
This, according to researchers from Pennsylvania State University. Led by Nadia Byrnes, the team assembled 184 male and female volunteers, all of whom were nonsmokers between the ages of 18 to 45. The group was primarily Caucasian. None had any issues that would compromise the ability to taste. The participants’ personalities were assessed using the Arnett Inventory of Sensation Seeking (AISS), a test that measures how much an individual desires novel and intense stimulation. Those in the group who scored above the mean AISS score were considered to be more open to risks, adventure and new experiences, while those scoring below the mean were considered to be less open to those things. To test their preference for plain or spicy food, the volunteers were given 25 micrometers of capsaicin, the active component of chili peppers and asked to rate how much they liked a spicy meal as the burn from the capsaicin increased in intensity. Those who were above the mean AISS had a consistently high liking of the meal even as the burn increased. Those in the group who fell below the mean AISS rapidly disliked the meal as the burn increased. Those in the mean group liked the meal less as the burn increased, but not nearly as rapidly as those below the mean.