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The latest research asked adults in Europe and Africa if they attached any emotions, personalities and ages to different cars The study was conducted on 129 adults from Austra and Ethiopia to rate images of 26 different cars.
Results revealed that evidently people assess the faces of cars in the same way as they assess a human face, with findings suggesting that cars with wide radiator grilles and narrow headlights are seen as dominant and aggressive as opposed to those with large windscreens which are seen as child-like and happy.
Certain cars were more prominent in the findings of the research, for example the Chrysler Crossfire, BMW 645ci and the VW Sharan were all described as angry cars, whilst the Diahatsu Cuore which is a small Japanese made hatchback was described as being sad faced.
Dominant cars included the BMW 3-series and 5-series whilst the Nissan Micra was described as the most obedient and dutiful car, with the Toyota AYGO city car described to be the most childish. Happy cars included the Volkswagen Beetle, whilst the Mercedes E-class was described as Neurotic.
Cars with very narrow headlights, large grilles and wide air vents were found to be more mature, masculine and dominant, whilst those with curvier faces containing round headlights and larger windscreens were seen as childish, feminine and obedient.
Sonja Windhager, an anthropologist at the University of Vienna who led the research described how the personalities which were given to the cars were likely to very much reflect the personalities of the same car’s owners.
She said: “Our findings unearthed the striking similarities between car and face perception. The similarities of car and face perception might influence driving, pedestrian behaviour and the design of car fronts themselves.
“I think it might influence our decisions on which cars we buy when other factors such as price, space and engine power are close to being equal. We may even pay more for a car with a face we like better, but that remains to be investigated.”
Miss Windhager is planning to continue her studies by looking at how the faces of different cars affects drivers’ behaviour, for example, do some people change lane sooner if thet see an aggressive car approaching in their rear-view mirror. Windhager believes that this type of research could contribute to the future design of cars.