From Nautilus, on spicy foods: “Outside of traditional chili pepper-eating cultures, it is common to see people learn to love spicy food on their own. To explain this phenomenon psychologist Paul Rozin came up with a theory he called ‘benign masochism.’ A certain type of person, he theorized, was lured to the burn — the same kind of person, he suggested, who might be drawn to other ‘sensation-seeking’ activities. Eating chili pepper is like riding a roller coaster, he notes. ‘In both cases, the body senses danger and behavior normally follows which would terminate the stimulus. In both cases, initial discomfort becomes pleasure after a number of exposures.’ ”
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