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Assignment Personality Judgment and Decision Making

Assignment: Personality Judgment and Decision Making

The potential relationship between spicy taste and risk seeking

Xue Wang∗ Liuna Geng† Jiawen Qin∗ Sixie Yao∗

Abstract

We conducted three studies to examine the relationship between spicy tastes and risk seeking. In Study 1, results from a personality judgment task indicated that people were more inclined to attribute a higher level of risk seeking to individuals who enjoy spicy foods. The second study examined whether people who like spicy foods are actually more risk seeking. In fact, people who reported a preference for spicy tastes scored higher on risk taking, as assessed via the Domain-Specific Risk-Taking

Scale (Chinese version). Finally, Study 3 employed an experimental design to manipulate risk-seeking tendencies by having participants experience spicy food tastes in the lab. Momentarily savoring spicy foods increased participants’ risk taking in the Iowa Gambling Task. The present findings suggest that preferences for spicy tastes could relate to risk-seeking tendencies and subsequent risk-seeking behaviors.

Keywords: spicy taste, risk seeking, personality.

1 Introduction

In the past decade, psychologists and nutritionists have examined the relationship between personality traits and food choices. Several studies suggest that personality traits influence consumption of specific foods or substances. For example, among the Big 5 personality factors, conscientiousness and openness to experience are positively associated with vegetable and fruit consumption (Raynor & Levine, 2009) and negatively associated with eating meat products (Mõttus et al., 2012). Research has also shown that an increased preference for caffeine is associated with higher levels of sensation seeking (Mattes, 1994). More abstractly, scholars have addressed factors underlying taste preferences, particularly the relationship between taste preferences and personality.

For instance, individuals with a preference for sweet foods score higher on measures of agreeableness (Meier, Moeller, Riemer-Peltz & Robinson, 2012) and neuroticism (Keller, Steinmann, Nurse & Tepper, 2014; Kikuchi & Watanabe, 2000). As for spicy tastes (i.e., tastes elicited from spices that produce oral irritation), preferences have been observed around the world (especially Africa, India, China, and Mexico; Ji, Ding, Deng, Ma & Jiang, 2013), in spite of these foods (at least initially) being seemingly unpalatable.

In contrast, several people are averse to spicy foods due to resultant painful sensations. While physiological reactions Funding: The study described in this report was supported by the Jiangsu university philosophy social science fund project “the mentality in the period of social transformation” (No. 2015JDXM003). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, Copyright: © 2016. The authors license this article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. ∗Department of Psychology, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China. †Corresponding author. Department of Psychology, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China. Email: [email protected]

Assignment Personality Judgment and Decision Making

Assignment Personality Judgment and Decision Making

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affect preferences for spicy tastes, additional evidence suggests that these taste preferences could be influenced by personality factors (Bartoshuk, 1993; Duffy, 2007; Duffy & Bartoshuk, 2000; Miller & Reedy, 1990), social and cultural contexts (Rozin & Schiller, 1980; Stevens, 1990), and repeated exposure to spicy cuisine (Logue & Smith, 1986). Personality Judgment and Decision Making.

Thus, there is merit in exploring the relationship between spicy tastes and personality traits.

The most common personality construct associated with spicy taste is sensation seeking, which has been associated with a preference for, and consumption of, spicy foods.

For instance, several studies have reported a positive relationship between sensation-seeking behaviors and enjoying chili-containing foods (Byrnes & Hayes, 2013, 2015). Spicy tastes create strong sensations (Ludy & Mattes, 2012), and sensation seeking is an important predictor of risky behaviors, including aspects of criminality and social violations (Horvath & Zuckerman, 1993). More direct evidence is indicated by a positive relationship observed between eating spicy foods and risk-taking subscale scores from the DSM5 Personality Inventory (PID–5) (Byrnes & Hayes, 2016).

Additionally, the theory of benign masochism provides a possible explanation for why spicy consumption is related to risk-seeking tendencies. Benign masochism refers to the enjoyment derived from negative experiences that we initially perceive as threatening (e.g., eating peppers, riding roller coasters, etc.; Rozin & Schiller, 1980; Schweid, 1980). Although eating spicy foods is typically accompanied by defensive responses within the body (e.g., teary eyes and a runny nose), certain individuals’ preferred level of piquancy is below any tolerance level.

Thus, while our body interprets eating spicy food as risky, our mind seems to regard this behavior as safe or at least a “constrained risk”. Furthermore, Rozin and colleagues provided systematic evidence for benign masochism across a range of activities, including spicy taste consumption, and observed a positive correlation between benign masochism and sensation seeking (Rozin, Guillot, Fincher, Rozin & Tsukayama, 2013).

Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 11, No. 6.

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Based on the aforementioned literature, we explored the relationship between spicy taste and risk-seeking traits and behaviors. Study 1 implemented a personality judgment task to examine beliefs that pertain to preferences for spicy foods and risk seeking. We hypothesized that participants would ascribe a higher level of risk seeking to individuals who enjoy spicy tastes. Study 2 was an extension of Study 1 and examined whether people who like spicy foods actually engage in more risky behaviors. More specifically, do people’s taste preferences vary according to personality?

We sought to answer this question, particularly as it pertains to preferences for spicy tastes coinciding with risk-seeking tendencies. We hypothesized that individuals who enjoy spicy foods would be more likely to take risks. Similar to Study 1, Study 2 relied on self-report assessments of these constructs. Finally, Study 3 investigated actual behavioral links to spicy taste preferences and risk seeking. Thus, we examined whether momentarily savoring a spicy food would influence risky decisions. In line with predictions from Studies 1 and 2, we expected that momentarily savoring spicy tastes would increase individuals’ risk-seeking behaviors.

2 Study 1

2.1 Methods

2.1.1 Participants

Forty-nine Chinese students (28 females) from Nanjing University voluntarily participated in this study. The mean age of the sample was 21.36 years (SD = 2.14), ranging from 18 to 27 years.

Personality Judgment and Decision Making

2.1.2 Materials

The Chinese Facial Affective Picture System. Previous research has demonstrated the existence of facial stereotypes whereby people tend to associate attractiveness with positive personality traits. Thus, we utilized a personality judgment task aimed at preventing participants from determining attractiveness based on these personality judgments (Ji et al., 2013; Meier et al., 2012; Meier, Robinson, Carter & Hinsz, 2010). We selected 20 facial images displaying a neutral expression from the Chinese Facial Affective Picture System (Gong, Huang, Wang & Luo, 2011). We sampled an equal number of male and female faces (10 each). Photographs were taken from the neck to the top of the head and are in black and white. Each photograph was paired with a statement indicating that individual’s taste preferences. In previous work, food items, such as lemons, have been used without indicating a particular type of taste (Ji et al., 2013; Meier, Moeller et al., 2012).

Important information for writing discussion questions and participation

Hi Class,

Please read through the following information on writing a Discussion question response and participation posts.

Contact me if you have any questions.

Important information on Writing a Discussion Question

  • Your response needs to be a minimum of 150 words (not including your list of references)
  • There needs to be at least TWO references with ONE being a peer reviewed professional journal article.
  • Include in-text citations in your response
  • Do not include quotes—instead summarize and paraphrase the information
  • Follow APA-7th edition
  • Points will be deducted if the above is not followed

Participation –replies to your classmates or instructor

  • A minimum of 6 responses per week, on at least 3 days of the week.
  • Each response needs at least ONE reference with citations—best if it is a peer reviewed journal article
  • Each response needs to be at least 75 words in length (does not include your list of references)
  • Responses need to be substantive by bringing information to the discussion or further enhance the discussion. Responses of “I agree” or “great post” does not count for the word count.
  • Follow APA 7th edition
  • Points will be deducted if the above is not followed

Welcome to class

Hello class and welcome to the class and I will be your instructor for this course. This is a -week course and requires a lot of time commitment, organization, and a high level of dedication. Please use the class syllabus to guide you through all the assignments required for the course. I have also attached the classroom policies to this announcement to know your expectations for this course. Please review this document carefully and ask me any questions if you do. You could email me at any time or send me a message via the “message” icon in halo if you need to contact me. I check my email regularly, so you should get a response within 24 hours. If you have not heard from me within 24 hours and need to contact me urgently, please send a follow up text to.

I strongly encourage that you do not wait until the very last minute to complete your assignments. Your assignments in weeks 4 and 5 require early planning as you would need to present a teaching plan and interview a community health provider. I advise you look at the requirements for these assignments at the beginning of the course and plan accordingly. I have posted the YouTube link that explains all the class assignments in detail. It is required that you watch this 32-minute video as the assignments from week 3 through 5 require that you follow the instructions to the letter to succeed. Failure to complete these assignments according to instructions might lead to a zero. After watching the video, please schedule a one-on-one with me to discuss your topic for your project by the second week of class. Use this link to schedule a 15-minute session. Please, call me at the time of your appointment on my number. Please note that I will NOT call you.

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Plagiarism is highly prohibited. Please ensure you are citing your sources correctly using APA 7th edition. All assignments including discussion posts should be formatted in APA with the appropriate spacing, font, margin, and indents. Any papers not well formatted would be returned back to you, hence, I advise you review APA formatting style. I have attached a sample paper in APA format and will also post sample discussion responses in subsequent announcements.

Your initial discussion post should be a minimum of 200 words and response posts should be a minimum of 150 words. Be advised that I grade based on quality and not necessarily the number of words you post. A minimum of TWO references should be used for your initial post. For your response post, you do not need references as personal experiences would count as response posts. If you however cite anything from the literature for your response post, it is required that you cite your reference. You should include a minimum of THREE references for papers in this course. Please note that references should be no more than 5 years old except recommended as a resource for the class. Furthermore, for each discussion board question, you need ONE initial substantive response and TWO substantive responses to either your classmates or your instructor for a total of THREE responses. There are TWO discussion questions each week, hence, you need a total minimum of SIX discussion posts for each week. I usually post a discussion question each week. You could also respond to these as it would count towards your required SIX discussion posts for the week.

I understand this is a lot of information to cover in 5 weeks, however, the Bible says in Philippians 4:13 that we can do all things through Christ that strengthens us. Even in times like this, we are encouraged by God’s word that we have that ability in us to succeed with His strength. I pray that each and every one of you receives strength for this course and life generally as we navigate through this pandemic that is shaking our world today. Relax and enjoy the course!

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