Does this ring true for you?

Karla Walsh; Reviewed by Jess Ball, M.S., R.D.
July 15, 2020
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Getty / Angelo DeSantis

You've probably noticed that in the modern era, food and drink preferences vary widely. Just try to host a dinner party these days (a socially distant gathering for now, please!), and you'll likely be designing a menu that has something for everyone from keto dieters to vegans and mocktail devotees to Malbec aficionados.

While many of these dietary selections are mandated by allergies, aversions or other health restrictions, others are simply preferences. The latter is what captivates us—how and why people land on their particular habits and proclivities. Recently, science has been diving into these topics, too.

Earlier this summer, researchers discovered that meat-eaters tend to be more extroverted. And this week, another study that's set to publish in the December 2020 issue of the journal Food Quality and Preference, cracks open the topic of beer preference and personality.

Those who err on the risk-taking side and love new experiences—AKA the "openness to experience" Big Five personality trait—tend to prefer more bitter, pale ale beers and drink them more often than those who stick to a more safe, patterned schedule. To determine this, Penn State sensory researchers compared results from a blind taste test (of a lager, one strongly bitter IPA and one moderately bitter IPA) and personality assessments for 109 subjects.

"We found that increased bitterness perception does not always lead to decreased liking and intake—rather, it's a positive attribute in some products for some consumers," lead researcher Molly Higgins explained to ScienceDaily. "These data suggest liking and intake of pale ales is positively related to sensation seeking and bitter taste perception."

Previous research has found a link between spicy foods and a risk-taking, open personality. The researchers hope other scientists can use their findings to help find new ways to promote healthy foods that are naturally bitter, including kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green tea and grapefruit since all of the above offer antioxidants that might prevent chronic diseases.

Intrigued by this topic of beverage preferences and personality? You might also find this fascinating: This is the best wine for your zodiac sign, according to an astrologer.