Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

People with a 'sweet tooth' have sweeter dispositions

Date:
November 23, 2011
Source:
North Dakota State University
Summary:
If you're dealing with a crabby co-worker or sour-faced friend, perhaps some new research can help. It sheds light on the question: Can eating sweets make you--well--sweet? A new study suggests people with a "sweet tooth" have sweeter dispositions.

If you’re dealing with a crabby co-worker or sour-faced friend, perhaps some new research can help. It sheds light on the question: Can eating sweets make you—well—sweet? A new study by researchers at North Dakota State University, Fargo, Gettysburg College and Saint Xavier University suggests people with a “sweet tooth” have sweeter dispositions. The research was conducted by Dr. Brian Meier, associate professor of psychology at Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pa.; Dr. Michael D. Robinson, NDSU professor of psychology; Dr. Sara Moeller, assistant professor at Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Ill.; and Miles Riemer-Peltz of Gettysburg College.

Related Articles


The paper, “Sweet Taste Preferences and Experiences Predict Pro-Social Inferences, Personalities, and Behaviors,” is being published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

According to Meier, “Taste is something we experience every day. Our research examined whether metaphors that link taste preferences with pro-social experiences (e.g., “she’s a sweetheart”) can be used to shed light on actual personality traits and behavior.”

The research included a series of five studies. In one study, the authors found participants who ate a sweet food (a specific brand of chocolate), versus a non-sweet food (a cracker), or no food, were more likely to volunteer to help another person in need. The authors also found in another study that people believe that a person who likes sweet foods like candy or chocolate cake (compared to foods from the other four taste types) is also more agreeable or helpful, but not more extroverted or neurotic.

“It is striking that helpful and friendly people are considered ‘sweet’ because taste would seem to have little in common with personality or behavior. Yet, recent psychological theories of embodied metaphor led us to hypothesize that seemingly innocuous metaphors can be used to derive novel insights about personality and behavior,” said Dr. Meier. “Importantly, our taste studies controlled for positive mood so the effects we found are not due to the happy or rewarding feeling one may have after eating a sweet food.”

According to Dr. Robinson, “Our results suggest there is a real link between sweet tastes and pro-social behavior. Such findings reveal that metaphors can lead to unique and provocative predictions about people's behaviors and personality traits.”

The authors also showed that people who like sweet foods, versus individuals who do not, were higher in the personality trait of agreeableness and were more likely to volunteer to help clean up their city after it experienced a major flood. In other words, the authors demonstrated people can predict how helpful or nice someone is, based on the extent to which whether he or she prefers eating sweet foods. Preferences for the other four taste types were not predictive of the pro-social trait of agreeableness.

The researchers say that taste metaphors may have different consequences for interpersonal functioning in other cultures. “Although we suggest our results are likely to be found in other cultures, that may not always be the case across all cultures,” said Dr. Meier, who suggests that cross-cultural research of the same type would be informative.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Dakota State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brian P. Meier, Sara K. Moeller, Miles Riemer-Peltz, Michael D. Robinson. Sweet taste preferences and experiences predict prosocial inferences, personalities, and behaviors.. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2011; DOI: 10.1037/a0025253

Cite This Page:

North Dakota State University. "People with a 'sweet tooth' have sweeter dispositions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018212346.htm>.
North Dakota State University. (2011, November 23). People with a 'sweet tooth' have sweeter dispositions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018212346.htm
North Dakota State University. "People with a 'sweet tooth' have sweeter dispositions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018212346.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins