Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Human Or Animal Faces Associated With At Least 90 Percent Of Cars By One-third Of Population

Date:
September 24, 2008
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
A new study investigated whether people ascribed certain traits to cars, as they do to human faces. One-third of the subjects associated a human or animal face with at least 90 percent of the cars. All subjects marked eyes (headlights), a mouth (air intake/grille), and a nose in more than 50 percent of the cars. Overall, people agreed which type of car possesses certain traits. The authors found that people liked cars most which had a wide stance, a narrow windshield, and/or widely spaced, narrow headlights.

Classic Red 1957 Chevy Bel Air. Do you see a face? Most people see headlights as the eyes, air intake/grille as the mouth, and a nose somewhere in more than 50 percent of the cars.
Credit: iStockphoto/Brian Sullivan

Do people attribute certain personality traits or emotions to car fronts? If so, could this have implications for driving and pedestrian behavior? Truls Thorstensen (EFS Consulting Vienna), Karl Grammer (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Urban Ethology) and other researchers at the University of Vienna joined economic interest with evolutionary psychology to answer these questions.

The research project investigates our perception of automotive designs, and whether and how these findings correspond to the perception of human faces.

Throughout evolution, humans have developed an ability to collect information on people's sex, age, emotions, and intentions by looking at their faces. The authors suggest that this ability is probably widely used on other living beings and maybe even on inanimate objects, such as cars. Although this theory has been proposed by other authors, it has not yet been investigated systematically. The researchers therefore asked people to report the characteristics, emotions, personality traits, and attitudes that they ascribed to car fronts and then used geometric morphometrics to calculate the corresponding shape information.

One-third of the subjects associated a human or animal face with at least 90 percent of the cars. All subjects marked eyes (headlights), a mouth (air intake/grille), and a nose in more than 50 percent of the cars. Overall, people agreed which type of car possesses certain traits. The authors found that people liked cars most which had a wide stance, a narrow windshield, and/or widely spaced, narrow headlights. The better the subjects liked a car, the more it bore shape characteristics corresponding to high values of what the authors termed "power", indicating that both men and women like mature, dominant, masculine, arrogant, angry-looking cars.

If these are the traits that people like, does that necessarily mean that this is the type of car they would buy? The authors surmise that this might not always be the case. Do we judge a car by our (perhaps stereotyped) impression of its owner, or do we choose a car based on its communication of desired characteristics? Do we feel that driving a car that looks arrogant and dominant might be of benefit in the daily "battles" on the road? These are interesting questions for car manufacturers and researchers alike, and will be pursued further in the collaboration between EFS Consulting and Karl Grammer's group.

The collaborators conclude, "we show that distinct features in the car fronts correspond to different trait attributions. Thus, humans possibly interpret even inanimate structures in biological terms, which could have implications for driving and pedestrian behavior. With respect to practical applications, a tool for automobile designers to style cars according to a desired image could be derived."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Windhager S, Slice DE, Schaefer K, Oberzaucher E, Thorstensen T, Grammer K. Face to face: The Perception of Automotive Designs. Human Nature, (in press) DOI: 10.1007/s12110-008-9047-z

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Human Or Animal Faces Associated With At Least 90 Percent Of Cars By One-third Of Population." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080922100156.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2008, September 24). Human Or Animal Faces Associated With At Least 90 Percent Of Cars By One-third Of Population. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080922100156.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Human Or Animal Faces Associated With At Least 90 Percent Of Cars By One-third Of Population." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080922100156.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins