Send to

Choose Destination
Physiol Behav. 1994 Dec;56(6):1229-36.

Influences on acceptance of bitter foods and beverages.

Author information

Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3308.


Bitterness is generally viewed as an undesirable attribute of foods and beverages, yet segments of the population regularly ingest items with a prominent bitter taste. The influence of taste sensitivity, exposure, selected personality traits (i.e., neophobia, variety seeking, sensation seeking) and pharmacological reactivity on alcohol and caffeine consumption, two widely consumed bitter substances, was assessed in 20 healthy adults (10 male, 10 female). Self-reported alcohol use was positively correlated with measured ethanol taste detection threshold and pharmacological reactivity (self-reported behavioral effects). The latter accounted for 23% of the variance in alcohol intake. Caffeine intake was significantly associated with personality traits. Sensation seeking status and self-reported reactivity to caffeine accounted for 46% of the variance in caffeine intake. Pleasantness ratings for novel bitter and sour foods were unaffected by 10 exposures whereas increased ratings were given to sweet and salty items. Variation in the influence of these factors between individuals and across products may explain individual differences in the acceptability and use of foods and beverages containing alcohol, caffeine and other bitter compounds.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center