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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02591

What does our personality say about our dietary choices? Insights on the associations between dietary habits, primary emotional systems and the Dark Triad of personality

  • 1Department of Molecular Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education, University of Ulm, Germany
  • 2Department of Molecular Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
  • 3The Clinical Hospital of Chengdu Brain Science Institute, MOE Key Lab for Neuroinformation, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, China

The awareness of the consequences of consuming animal products for the environment and one’s own health has been growing in recent years. The aim of the present research project was to examine the relationship between individual differences in biologically rooted primary emotional systems arising from phylogenetically old brain areas and dietary habits including being a vegan/vegetarian or omnivore (study 1). Additionally, the link between the Dark Triad personality traits and dietary habits was investigated (also study 1). In study 2 it was aimed to replicate the associations between the Dark Triad traits and dietary habits in a new sample.
In total 1140 (study 1) and 444 (study 2) participants took part in the research project. The Affective Neuroscience Personality Scales (ANPS) were applied to assess individual differences in six primary emotional systems. The Short Dark Triad Scale (SD3) was administered to assess individual differences in Machiavellianism, psychopathy and narcissism. The eating style of participants was measured with the Eating Behavior Questionnaire (EBQ).
Results of study 1 demonstrated higher CARE, SADNESS and spirituality scores, and lower PLAY scores in vegans/vegetarians than in omnivores. However, after the sex of the participants was included in the model, the effect on CARE got weaker. Additionally, omnivores scored higher on Machiavellianism, however, this association disappeared when sex was added to the model. In study 2, higher scores in Machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy were reported for the group of omnivores compared to vegans/vegetarians, however those effects got weaker or disappeared after the sex of participants was added to the model.
The present research project adds to the literature by investigating the ANPS model and the Dark Triad of personality in the context of eating style for the first time. The findings of these two studies might help to better understand how people following different types of diet, might differ in their personalities.

Keywords: Personality, ANPs, Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, Diet

Received: 06 Mar 2019; Accepted: 31 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Sariyska, Markett, Lachmann and Montag. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Rayna Y. Sariyska, University of Ulm, Department of Molecular Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm, Germany,