Hannibal Lecter might have enjoyed fava beans and a nice chianti - but psychopaths are more likely to savour coffee and gin and tonic.
Psychology researchers at Innsbruck University in Austria found that people who expressed a preference for bitter tastes (like coffee) were more likely to be vain, sadistic and enjoy manipulating and hurting others.
The researchers interviewed 1,000 people, both students and prison inmates, correlating the results of psychological tests with a chart of taste preferences.
The experiment offers the ‘first empirical evidence that bitter taste preferences are linked to malevolent personality traits,' the researchers say.
'General bitter taste preferences emerged as a robust predictor for Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism and everyday sadism.’
By contrast, people who rated highly for ‘agreeable’ personality traits such as kindness, tended to dislike bitter tastes.