With Halloween around the corner, parents are fretting over what all that candy will do to their little goblins. Well, it might just make them sweeter. Because people who prefer sugary snacks actually seem to be more kind. So says a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. [Brian Meier et al., "Sweet taste preferences and experiences predict prosocial inferences, personalities, and behaviors"]
We often describe personality or behavior with taste-related terms. Think of someone who’s bitter, or sour or maybe even a little picante. But do our tastes in food really reflect who we are?
Scientists looked for a link between a love of sweet things and the tendency to be generous or generally agreeable. College students answered a series of questions about their character—whether, for example, they’re soft-hearted or enjoy insulting people. Then they rated their liking for a variety of foods, from cake and ice cream to cranberries, sauerkraut and salsa. And it turns out that kids with a sweet tooth see themselves as sweet.
And maybe they are. Those that liked candy more than crackers were more likely to volunteer around campus or for additional studies. So if you’re looking to score a little milk of human kindness, try putting out a plate of cookies.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]