Exploring the relationship between psychopathy and taste perception

Mehmet K. Mahmut*, Breanna Banzer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Higher psychopathic traits have been consistently associated with poorer olfactory abilities; however, only one study as reported by Sagioglou and Greitemeyer (Appetite 96:299-308, 2016) has explored whether psychopathy is linked to taste perception. Using self-report measures, Sagioglou and Greitemeyer (2016) found higher psychopathic traits were associated with higher liking ratings for bitter stimuli. The aim of the current study was to determine whether direct assessment of taste perception was linked with psychopathic traits. Methods: Seventy-eight participants (41 females) rated four tastants (i.e. bitter, sweet, salty and sour), at four concentrations. For each of the 16 stimuli, participants rated how much they liked, how disgusting and how intense they perceived each tastant. Results: Contrary to previous findings, higher psychopathic traits were not associated with higher liking ratings for bitter stimuli, but instead associated with higher disgust ratings of bitter stimuli. Moreover, higher psychopathic traits were associated with higher taste intensity ratings, suggesting psychopathy may be associated with increased taste sensitivity. Conclusions: Higher degrees of psychopathic traits are associated with higher disgust ratings of bitter stimuli. Implications: The findings suggest that the chemical senses may be another confirmatory method for differentiating those with low and high psychopathic traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47–56
Number of pages10
JournalChemosensory Perception
Volume14
Issue number1
Early online date23 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • psychopathy
  • taste preference
  • chemosensory perception

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