Gin and tonic is a drink that often divides the masses, with many people absolutely loving it whilst others can’t abide its bitter taste and it turns out that this might all be down to whether or not you’re a psychopath.
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A new study has determined that those who opt for drinks such as tonic water or coffee are more likely to display psychopathic tendencies such as Machiavellianism, sadism and narcissism. In other words, they’re more likely to be duplicitous, cold-hearted and lacking in empathy, more likely to derive pleasure from other people’s pain or to be vain and selfish. Sound like anyone you know?
The study was conducted by Innsbruck University Australia and analysed the actions of 1000 people in two experiments. The 1000 people were split into two groups of 500 each, and then given a list of foods with equal numbers of sweet, salty, sour and bitter foods and asked to rank each one on a scale of 1-6.
They were then asked to complete four different personality tests, where they had to rank statements such as ‘Given enough provocation, I may hit someone’, and ‘I enjoy tormenting people’ on a scale of 1-6 by how much they agreed with them. The results of each experiment were then compared to discover a correlation and in both instances there was a direct link between those that preferred bitter foods and the psychopathic tendencies already described.
Study author Christina Sagioglou said the following:
General bitter taste preferences emerged as a robust predictor for Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism and everyday sadism.
Agreeableness and cooperativeness, however, were negatively correlated with bitter taste preference.
People with these traits may prefer bitter foods because they might experience a kind of ‘thrill’ from them.
For people with sadistic traits though, bitter food and drink may be compared to a rollercoaster ride, where people enjoy things that induce fear.
We found particularly robust correlations with everyday sadism.
Everyday sadism is a construct related to benign Masochism – the enjoyment of painful activities – which was first described and investigated by psychologist Paul Rozin.
To quote Paul Rozin for an explanation: “For the case of innately aversive foods, there may be pleasure from the fact that the body is signalling rejection, but the person knows there is no real threat.
I suppose this study does allegedly show a correlation between these traits and someone has spent a shit ton of time and money investigating it, but I’m not sure if every time I see someone order a gin and tonic now I’m going to suspect them of being a psychopath, are you? It just sounds too stupid that psychopaths have a drink of choice, right?
Probably still going to be edgy any time I see someone order one now though thanks to this. It could be worse though: imagine if you ran this internship that pays people to drink gin and tonic – you would be absolutely bricking it right now.