Food and Behaviour Research

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What is the link between personality and food behaviour?

Spence C (2021) Current Research in Food Science 8;5:19-27 

Web URL: Read this on PubMed


A number of personality characteristics have been linked to various aspects of taste (gustation), trigeminal, and olfactory perception. In particular, personality traits have been linked to olfactory sensory thresholds and olfactory identification abilities, as well as to the sensory-discriminative aspects of taste/flavour perception. To date, much of the research in this area has focused on Sensation Seeking (including Experience Seeking, and Openness to Novel Experiences), with the latter being linked to a preference for spicy, and possibly also crunchy, sour, and bitter foods/drinks. Novelty-seeking has also been linked to a preference for salty foods, while anxious individuals appear to enjoy a much narrower range of foods. A bidirectional link has also been documented between taste and mood. Certain of the personality-based differences in taste/flavour perception and food behaviour have been linked to differences in circulating levels of neurotransmitters and hormones in both normal and clinical populations. Taken together, therefore, the evidence that has been published to date supports a number of intriguing connections between personality traits and taste perception/food behaviour.