60-Second Science

Sensation Seekers Stomach Spicier Sustenance

Those who score high on a test for how much a person desires novel and intense stimulation and risky behavior will enjoy food that's spiced well past others' ability to tolerate it. Amy Kraft reports

The more adventurous the risk-taker, the hotter the wings. That's according to a study presented at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting in Chicago. [Nadia Byrnes and John Hayes, Personality May Predict If You Like Spicy Foods]

Researchers assessed 184 participants using the Arnett Inventory of Sensation Seeking, a test for how much a person desires novel and intense stimulation and risky behavior.
The subjects were then given food kicked up with capsaicin, which puts the heat in chili peppers. They were asked to rate how much they liked the spicy meal as the burn from the compound increased.

Those volunteers who rated high on having a sensation-seeking personality continued to enjoy the meal as the burn intensified. Non-sensation seekers couldn’t take the heat and eschewed rather than chewed. A third group of mild thrill seekers did not like the spicy meal either, but not nearly as much as those with risk-averse personalities.

The researchers say that people who enjoy risky behavior including gambling or thrill rides might be getting the same kind of danger rush when biting into a hot pepper. Just be sure to digest all that spicy food before hitting the roller coaster.

—Amy Kraft

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

Starting Thanksgiving

Enter code: HOLIDAY 2015
at checkout

Get 20% off now! >


Email this Article