Study Finds a Link Between a Sweet Tooth and a Sweet Personality

By Brooke Benjamin

U.S.-based scientists have found that there may be a link between a fondness for sweet foods and having a pleasant disposition. Researchers from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, St. Xavier University in Chicago and North Dakota State University conducted five different studies with more than 500 participants in an effort to find a connection between taste preferences and personality traits.

Findings from one of the five studies showed that those who would choose to eat a piece of chocolate versus a non-sweet food were more likely to help another person in need. Psychology professor Brian Meirers emphasizes, “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.”

Interestingly, another study found that this typecast was also assumed by others about sweets lovers. This was deduced by showing participants photos of strangers bearing neutral facial expressions with a brief description below, which included whether they like chocolate or not. Participants rated those who do like chocolate as being more agreeable.

If the outcome of these studies comes as a surprise to you, you are not alone. Meirers states, “It is striking that helpful and friendly people are considered ‘sweet’ because taste would seem to have little in common with personality or behavior.”

The study is part of an increase in recent years in social psychology research in conceptual and embodiment metaphors and has been published in the Journal of Personality Social Psychology.