Taste and Politics (09-04-20)

Ruisch and colleagues probed relationships between taste bud sensitivity and political orientations.  They report that “Based on work suggesting possible ideological differences in genes related to low-level sensory processing, we predicted that taste (i.e., gustatory) sensitivity would be associated with political ideology. In 4 studies . . . we test this hypothesis and find robust support for this association. . . . we find that sensitivity to the chemicals PROP and PTC—2 well established measures of taste sensitivity—are associated with greater political conservatism. . . . we find that fungiform papilla density, a proxy for taste bud density, also predicts greater conservatism. . . . This work suggests that low-level physiological differences in sensory processing may shape an individual’s political attitudes.” It is interesting to consider how the Ruisch team’s findings might be extended to other contexts.

Benjamin Ruisch, Rajen Anderson, Yoel Inbar, and David Pizarro.  “Gustatory Sensitivity Predicts Political Ideology.”  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, in press, https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000365