They were then given a small amount of capsaicin - the active ingredient in chilli peppers - in a glass of water and asked to swish it around their mouth. Those who said they liked the spicy taste were the same ones who enjoyed the adrenalin rush of risky behaviour.
The test, known as Arnett’s Inventory of Sensation Seeking, was carried out by researchers at Penn University in Pennsylvania. The AISS test is used by scientists to determine each person’s level of risk taking behaviour.
Dr. Alan Hirsch of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago says the correlation between risk taking and spicy food makes total sense to him.
He said: 'There’s a long-standing hypothesis that risk takers are adrenaline deficient and that they take risks to get that adrenaline and feel better. So they’ll work with bombs or in other high risk environments and then they’ll feel normal. Similarly, when you eat hot spicy food, it gives you a little bit of pain and therefore enhances your adrenaline level.'