Why do some of us like to slather hot sauce or sprinkle chili powder onto our food, while others can’t stand burning sensations in our mouth?
It probably has to do with how much we’ve been socially pressured or taught to eat chili, according to Paul Rozin, a cultural psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania who has studied attitudes toward food for decades.
We first read about Rozin’s research on spicy food in Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat. It’s a new book by John McQuaid that’s been excerpted in the Wall Street Journal and was featured Sunday on Weekend Edition.
We asked Rozin to tell us more about his work on spice tolerance. Here’s part of our conversation, edited for brevity and clarity.
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