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 January 30, 2015 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 January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Binge-Watching TV Linked To Loneliness

Binge-Watching TV Linked To Loneliness

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Researchers at University of Texas at Austin found a link between binge-watching TV shows and feelings of loneliness and depression. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Signs You Might Be The Passive Aggressive Friend

Signs You Might Be The Passive Aggressive Friend

BuzzFeed (Jan. 28, 2015) "No, I&apos;m not mad. Why, are you mad?" Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) Model schools are rethinking how they engage with the community to help enhance the lives of the students and their parents. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Rooftop Comedy (Jan. 26, 2015) A man in Texas saved every penny he found for 65 years, and this week he finally cashed them in. Bank tellers at Prosperity Bank in Slaton, Texas were shocked when Ira Keys arrived at their bank with over 500 pounds of loose pennies stored in coffee cans. After more than an hour of sorting and counting, it turned out the 81 year-old was in possession of 81,600 pennies, or $816. And he&apos;s got more at home! Video provided by Rooftop Comedy
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