Previous research, both animal and human, has shown a relationship between a pleasurable response to sweet taste (sweet liking) and a genetic vulnerability to alcoholism among children of alcoholic fathers. Sweet liking, however, is insufficient by itself to predict alcoholism. New findings published in the September issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research indicate that alcoholic status can be predicted by a combination of two independent factors - sweet liking and novelty seeking.
The results of this study confirmed our previous hypothesis that sweet liking is associated with genetic risk of alcoholism as measured by the paternal history of alcoholism, said Alexei B. Kampov-Polevoy, assistant professor of psychiatry at Mount. Sinai School of Medicine and first author of the study. Then we tested the hypothesis that sweet liking can predict alcoholic status of an individual. Analysis showed that sweet liking by itself was not sufficient to predict alcoholic status of an individual sweet likers were found among both alcoholics and non-alcoholic patients. Only a combination of sweet liking and elevated novelty seeking, as measured by the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire, was sufficient to make such a prediction.
Kampov said that he and his colleagues decided to examine the role of novelty seeking in the equation because previous research has strongly implicated the presence of various elements of behavioral undercontrol a personality trait that reflects an individuals inability or unwillingness to inhibit behavioral responses in the face of