If you’ve ever wondered if there’s a link between rude people and high-status cars, you now have some scientific evidence to base your argument. A new study from the University of Helsinki confirms that this is, indeed, a trend.
Per CNBC’s Cory Stieg, the researchers of the study found that argumentative, unempathetic, and stubborn men were more likely to drive luxury cars. This wasn’t the only important conclusion the study surfaced, however. It turns out that conscientious men and women, those who were thoughtful and detail-oriented, also had a tendency to drive high-end cars.
The researchers postulated that the first group of luxury car drivers (rich jerk men) tends to choose these vehicles as status symbols. By contrast, they theorized that the second group (conscientious men and women) tends to choose them as images of their personal responsibility and reliability.
Exploring identity issues
Social psychology professor Jan-Erik Lonnqvist was the lead study author for this endeavor. However, finding scientific backing for this connection was just one of the questions that fueled the research.
Ultimately, Lonnqvist and his team were more interested in exploring and understanding the personality traits of luxury car owners. “Far more interesting than the paper is that the car really seems to be an important identity issue for [these] owners,” said Lonnqvist.
To this end, the study surveyed 1,892 Finnish car owners whose average age was 53.5 years. Participants answered questions about personal income and their make of car. They also had to rate themselves in five different personality areas: agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness.
Though more research has yet to be done on the subject, the University of Helsinki’s study definitely helped further the dialogue about personal vehicles and self-identity. And it gives those of us who have more sensible (and affordable) vehicles reason to feel smug when we get behind the wheel.
Whitney Russell is a current resident of Dayton, though her spirit can be found beach-bumming in Puerto Rico (the land of her half-Puerto Rican heritage). When not adventuring through the exciting world of car news, she can be found hiking with her husband and their two dogs, motorcycling, visiting her cute nephews and nieces, discovering new memes, reorganizing and/or decorating some corner of the world, researching random things, and escaping into a great movie, poem, or short story. See more articles by Whitney.