It’s time to settle the dispute once and for all: Candy may be the only beacon of light remaining in this dark, desolate world, but which candy takes the cake? Scientific research has established that people who are inclined toward sweet tastes tend to be kinder and more prosocial toward others than those who are less partial to sweetness. But there are subtle differences in flavor within the cornucopia that is sugary candy that may or may not reveal salient aspects of your persona.
The taste-personality paradigm is nothing new. Scientists have been pursuing the link between taste preferences and personality for decades; One example illustrating these theories is “benign masochism.” In the 1970s, Paul Rozin theorized that people who liked spicy food, despite the fact that capsaicin is a biologically aversive stimulus that activates human pain receptors, subscribe to benign masochism. Kinky.
It follows, then, that people tend to have incredibly powerful feelings about their preferred candies and correspondingly adverse feelings about those they dislike.
Dasha Kazmin, a junior studying kinesiology and health, said she loves Reese’s so much that people who don’t like Reese’s “don’t deserve to breathe [her] air.”
“I dream of [Reese’s] every single night before I go to sleep,” Kazmin said.
Reese’s is, in fact, one of America’s favorite Halloween candies: According to sales data from 2010 to 2017, it is the fourth top-selling candy in the country.
On people who don’t like Reese’s candies, Lauryn Little, a fourth-year actuarial science major, said, “I just feel bad for them. [Because] most people who don’t like Reese’s don’t like them [because] they dislike peanut butter and that’s just unfortunate.”
In comparison, Little’s other favorite candy, Nerds, doesn’t even break the Top 25 of popular candy. “Regarding [Nerds] I don’t think I’d care,” she said of people who don’t like them.
Dante Brice, a fourth-year film student, is also fond of unpopular candy. He likes gummy bears and prepared a list of reasons for The Signal of why they’re the best:
“- Good high snack
– lots of vegan options
– some of them have real fruit and there’s even ones with f—— vitamins
– good for sharing unlike candy bars
– good high snack
– can freeze them and then you have a hard candy, it’s so g—— versatile
– they’re sold practically everywhere
– you can get sour ones if you’re feeling kinky”
Gummy bears are uncommon on Halloween top-sellers lists, but three people that The Signal spoke to named the animal-shaped delicacy as their No. 1 favorite. Perhaps grocery stores should reconsider how they market them.
Brice especially emphasized the fact that gummy bears are easily shareable. People who don’t like gummy bears “make life inconvenient because it’s the only candy I’m willing to share. Also, I imagine they have weird baby teeth that can’t chew properly,” Brice said.
Monica Shen, a Georgia State alum, on the other hand, said she likes them because “they’re fun and they don’t get as sticky as other soft candies like Starbursts.” Starbursts made the top-seller list as an impressive top 5 favorite, yet no one that spoke to The Signal named them their most-liked candy.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT CHOCOLATE?
Simple sugar-constituted candies, like Starburst, don’t satisfy many people’s cravings. In comparison, some studies suggest that chocolate creates “total sensory pleasure” that makes it utterly addictive and thirst-quenching. Chocolate has been fervently consumed for centuries; in the 1600’s, chocolate was even the prime suspect for female hysteria.
Anandamide, a chemical isolated in chocolate, may mimic the effects of cannabinoids, the THC and marijuana neurotransmitters, in the brain. This parallel may in part explain some of the addictive-like properties of chocolate in particular.
Andre Golshir, a fourth-year chemistry student, prefers chocolate candy in general, but believes that Snickers could say something about his personality.
“I am made up of caramel and nuts (representing my personality) but I hide it by covering it with chocolate,” Golshir said. While Golshir doesn’t discriminate against those who dislike chocolate, he called Starburst an “illegal piece of trash.”
Some people are just here for the candy in general.
“I have strong feelings about sugar,” Carissa Lavin, a first-year law student, said. Still, even she won’t bear witness to candy corn.
THE CANDY CORN DIVIDE
“I think candy corn is a disgrace to candy. It tastes like a packet of sugar that was left out in the rain,” Lavin said.
Little echoed Lavin’s sentiments. “I’d burn all candy corn to the ground and never look back,” she said.
Brice conceded that candy corn is indeed little more than plain sugar, but said he believes that it has its place in civilized society. “I’ve grown less fond of it as I’ve gotten older because it’s basically just [dyed] sugar, but catch me at the right time and I’m down for them. Usually Halloween is that time,” he said.
Amy Andrelchik, a senior student studying chemistry, who is an ardent supporter of the Halloween staple, said that she sympathizes with defectors. “[Candy corn] has a weird texture so I get it if people don’t like it. It’s chalky,” she said.
In contrast, Oliver Flint, a Georgia State junior, said that people who dislike candy corn will be on the “wrong side of history.” Despite the acrid controversy surrounding candy corn, it thrives as America’s sixth most popular Halloween candy.
Regardless of what the best Halloween candy is, nearly everyone will agree that the sugary treats are a feast for the senses. Perhaps, though, human hankering for sugar is an unfortunate evolutionary byproduct of the need for early humans to differentiate between bitter poisonous plants and sweeter edible plants. But evolution or not, high sugar consumption has been linked to maladies from obesity, heart disease and diabetes to cancer, depression and gout. Daresay, it’s time to switch to Splenda.