Jump directly to the content
FOOD FOR THOUGHT

I’m a food psychologist – what your go-to meal REALLY says about your personality & it’s not good if you love pasta bake

WE'VE all got our favourite foods.

And whether it's ice cream, pizza, pasta or a roast dinner, every single choice says something about our personalities.

2
What does your go-to family meal say about your personality? Those who choose pizza are more likely to be more of a social extrovertCredit: Getty

Charles Spence is a Professor of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University and wrote an article titled 'What is the link between personality and food behaviour?' that was published recently in volume five of the Current Research in Food Science journal.

"Researchers have established a number of robust links between personality characteristics and our preferences for, and sensitivity to, basic tastes such as sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and the mysterious fifth taste of umami (the savoury or meaty taste of foods)," he explained in the article.

"According to the theory of the Big Five personality traits five key factors determine a person’s personality.

  1. Extraversion = outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved
  2. Agreeableness = friendly/compassionate vs. critical/rational
  3. Openness to experience = inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious
  4. Conscientiousness = efficient/organised vs. extravagant/careless
  5. Neuroticism = sensitive/nervous vs. resilient/confident

"Intriguingly, several of these traits correlate with various aspects of people’s food behaviour."

Read more Food stories

COOL MUM

My nine-year-old has a mini fridge in her room - it stops her from bingeing

Professor Spence continued to explain that one of the most common links between personality and food behaviour stems from the dimension of extraversion or introversion.

"Extraverts tend to like more sensation, whether from the food they eat, or from the music that they listen to," he added.

"Extraverts also tend to engage in more sensation-seeking behaviours than do introverts."

Extraverts are therefore more likely to choose a spicy dish than an introvert.

Most read in Lifestyle

PERFECT FIT

I have big boobs, I love these 2 flattering bikini tops, they’re each under $15

"Novelty-seeking has also been linked to a preference for salty foods," he added.

"Anxious individuals tend to enjoy a much narrower range of
foods."

WHAT DOES YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL SAY ABOUT YOU?

PASTA BAKE

"This often comes up as a comfort food," Professor Spence explained. "Something like mac and cheese is particularly popular as a reassuring food for men when comfort eating. Perhaps one for the insecure personality type."

ROAST DINNER

"This is the most family-orientated meal so it's one for sharing and socialising. Just think about it: no one has a roast dinner by themselves."

FISH AND CHIPS

"A more nostalgic dish. It can take someone back to happy childhood memories eating fish and chips with their fingers by the seaside. Definitely one for a more nostalgic personality."

COTTAGE PIE

"This is the type of meal that became especially popular during the pandemic and it's not hard to see why. A food for people who like emotional reassurance from their meals, with nothing too challenging, just soft comforting textures."

JACKET POTATO

"A very solitary food and one that's very self-contained. Perhaps a meal for more of an introvert personality."

CHICKEN CURRY

"It depends how spicy it's made, but perhaps one for the explorer personality type - someone who likes sensation-seeking through strong flavours such as chilli."

PIZZA

"Another meal that promotes sharing and is therefore more commonly chosen by more of a social extrovert personality."

But, if you're someone who is open to experiencing different things in life, it's more likely that you're open to trying new foods.

"In one study, those participants who scored above average on openness ate about 4.5 more servings of combined fruit and vegetables per week than their peers who were less open," Professor Spence continued.

"They also consumed less unhealthy food, such as potato chips or fries."

It's not good news if you're a fan of bitter-tasting foods, however.

"As the authors of one study put it: ‘General bitter taste preferences emerged as a robust predictor for Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism and everyday sadism'," he wrote.

Professor Spence is the author of Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating.

2
And people who enjoy a spicy curry are more sensation-seeking personalitiesCredit: Getty
Topics