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Food Preferences Yield Clues To Personality

March 31, 2014
by Candy & Snack TODAY

London — Flavor choices, such as a preference for sourness — are associated with specific personality traits, according to a study commissioned by Danone UK, part of the Danone Group.

A survey of more than 2,000 individuals between the ages of 16 and 75 years found 94 percent of participants favor sweet flavors, while bitterness is preferred by 40 percent; However, more than half of those who like bitter foods consider themselves to be optimists, and approximately one-third of those who choose sour foods exhibit characteristics of liveliness and impulsiveness.

Analysis of the data by Andrew P. Smith, PhD, FBPsP, CPsychol, FSRM, a nutritional neuroscientist at Cardiff University, suggests those who prefer vanilla or “plain” flavors are extraverts, while chocolate lovers exhibit sensitive tendencies. Further, people who like the same flavor preferences tend to bond: 69 percent of those surveyed said they’re attracted to others with like palates.

Smith says: “There is considerable evidence linking nutrition and the brain. The results confirm that a person’s psychological characteristics are linked to their preferences for tastes and flavors. This is because the same parts of the brain are associated with personality and flavor preference.”

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