Do you find that you get along better with people who share your passion for spicy food? As it turns out, a preference for covering fried chicken with hot sauce or shaking pepper flakes onto pizza may be linked to specific personality traits.

While it’s commonly believed that a tolerance for spicy food is built over time as tastebuds become desensitized, researchers at Penn State have recently connected an interest in eating chili peppers with the sensation-seeking personality trait. They believe that people learn to enjoy the burning sensation and seek it out as a reward.

Why is this information noteworthy? Understanding what causes different food preferences will make it easier to develop public-health interventions that can be tailored to suit different personalities.

[via CBC News]