It's Official: Driving Fancy Cars Turns You Into An Arsehole

Image: carbuzz

I’m feeling pretty validated, today. The International Journal of Psychology has released the findings of a recent study that confirm jerks much prefer luxury cars — specifically BMW, Mercedes and Audis. Hence why it feels like every BMW driver is driving egregiously above the speed limit.

The study was conducted by the University of Helsinki and, as such, only focuses on 1892 Finnish drivers. But here’s how they conducted their research:

Regardless of whether income was included in the logistic model, disagreeable men and conscientious people in general were particularly likely to drive high‐status cars. The results regarding agreeableness are consistent with prior work that has argued for the role of narcissism in status consumption. Regarding conscientiousness, the results can be interpreted from the perspective of self‐congruity theory, according to which consumers purchase brands that best reflect their actual or ideal personalities.

An important implication is that the association between driving a high‐status car and unethical driving behaviour may not, as is commonly argued, be due to the corruptive effects of wealth. Rather, certain personality traits, such as low agreeableness, may be associated with both unethical driving behaviour and with driving a high‐status car.

Researchers used the Five-Factor Model of Personality—known as OCEAN, standing for openness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, extraversion, and agreeableness—to understand their test subjects. The more disagreeable (re: douchey and self-centered) the person was, the more likely they were to own a luxury car.

It’s not that all rich people suck, the researchers argue. It’s just that the ones who do all tend to opt for the same brands. And, for some reason, they all happened to be men.

I reached out to Mercedes, BMW, and Audi to see if they had anything to say about this phenomenon. They did not.

Theres’s another really fascinating component of this study, which revealed that not everyone who drives a luxury car is a monster who blasts through red lights and perpetually drives 30 kilometres over the speed limit. There was also a “consciousness” component, which in this particular case has to do with the self-perception of the driver. Men and women who view themselves as respectable, ambitious, and organised also opted for a luxury car that reflected those values. If you were a car, what car would you be? For those specific people, the answer is a Mercedes.

I’d love to see this study replicated in other countries—specifically here in the United States. I’m sure there are some regional brand differences, but if I had to hazard an educated guess, I’d say American arseholes prefer driving luxury cars just as much as Finnish arseholes.


This story originally appeared on Jalopnik.


Comments

    It always seems odd to me when people feel justified in spending ridiculous amounts of money on a vehicle that offers not real benefits worthy of the price tag.

      quite simple actually. for them the price is worth it to show the world (their world) that they are above you, better than you, and they're the alpha male. when in fact they're just arseholes, as per the study

    I am quick to sound my horn to unsafe drivers. Last year I purchased my first Mercedes, now I beep at no one. Since owning the car one beep from me, and my life is threatened.

    They will stop their car, they will get out and so on. These people I expect are the "school bullies" all grown up. So who is the real ass-hole here?

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