A Car Named Sue
Via the Boston Globe Ideas section. If you believe what college undergraduates have to say on questionnaires extrapolates at all to the real world. And that people still do things like name their car once they graduate.
“YOU BETTER WATCH what you say about my car. She’s real sensitive.” Nevertheless, unless you run across a car named Christine, there’s nothing to worry about, right? Think again. A study by psychologists at Colorado State University found that almost half of the more than 200 drivers surveyed in a college class had assigned a gender to their car (more females than males) and that over a quarter had given their car a name, including ones like Lolita, the Sweat-box of Death, and Jolly Green Giant. Drivers who had assigned a gender to their car – regardless of whether it was male or female – indicated a greater tendency to driving-related aggression and anger. The students were also asked to assess their car’s personality. The personality ascribed to the car was typically somewhat different than the driver’s, and knowing this invented personality improved predictions of the driver’s aggressiveness.
The study is: Benfield, J. et al., “Driver Personality and Anthropomorphic Attributions of Vehicle Personality Relate to Reported Aggressive Driving Tendencies,” Personality and Individual Differences (January 2007).
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