A new study published online in the Journal of Psychology & Marketing tells us what most gearheads already know: If you perceive your car as extension of self, you're more likely to drive aggressively.

Unsurprising to us, yes, but also to Ayalla Ruvio, lead author of "Aggressive Driving: A Consumption Experience." In a statement released by Temple University, she admits that her study "explains much of the phenomenon we knew existed." An assistant professor of marketing at Temple's Fox School of Business, Ruvio conducted her research – which consisted of surveying fewer than 300 people – in Israel.

Ruvio's astute command of the obvious extends to determining that "young people who are in the early stages of forming their self-identity might feel the need to show off their car and driving skills more than others" and "a sense of being under time and pressure leads to more aggressive driving."

Click through the jump to read the full release, wherein Ruvio also name-checks Shania Twain and Thelma and Louise.
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Study: Associating your car with your identity leads to aggressive driving

A new study by a Temple University Fox School of Business professor finds those who view their car as an extension of themselves have stronger aggressive driving tendencies.

The study, "Aggressive Driving: A Consumption Experience," is thought to be the first to comprehensively examine how personality, attitude and values contribute to aggressive driving behaviors. Driving is one of the most common consumptive behaviors, and aggressive driving causes a third of all accidents that involve personal injuries and two thirds of all fatal accidents in the United States.

"It explains much of the phenomenon we knew existed," said Ayalla Ruvio, lead author and an assistant professor of marketing. For instance, "we know men tend to be more aggressive drivers and we know men tend to see their cars as an extension of themselves more than women."

Ruvio's article, published online in the Journal of Psychology & Marketing, takes a consumer behavior perspective of this phenomenon and features two studies conducted in Israel. One took a holistic look at the influence of personality, attitudes and values gathered from 134 surveys of men and women with an average age of 23.5. The second study, of 298 people, built from the first and added the factors of risk attraction, impulsivity, driving as a hedonistic activity and perceptions about time pressures.

The studies found:
  • People who perceive their car as a reflection of their self-identity are more likely to behave aggressively on the road and break the law.
  • People with compulsive tendencies are more likely to drive aggressively with disregard for potential consequences.
  • Increased materialism, or the importance of one's possessions, is linked to increased aggressive driving tendencies.
  • Young people who are in the early stages of forming their self-identity might feel the need to show off their car and driving skills more than others. They may also be overconfident and underestimate the risks involved in reckless driving.
  • Those who admit to aggressive driving also admit to engaging in more incidents of breaking the law.
  • A sense of being under time and pressure leads to more aggressive driving.

The study findings "suggest that the perception of the car as an extension of the self leads to more aggressive behavior on the road rather than increased driving cautiousness," the authors wrote, adding that "individuals may view cars and the road space they occupy as their territory and will seek to maintain control over it and defend it as necessary."

Ruvio said the implications of this study can be seen in numerous cultural contexts because of the strong link between cars and identity. She points to the "soccer-mom" stigma of minivans, the Thelma and Louise personas, and songs such as Shania Twain's "You Don't Impress Me Much," with its line, "I can't believe you kiss your car goodnight."

The full article is available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mar.20429/full


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  • 51 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        bendover
        • 3 Years Ago
        Elmo??
        jj360
        • 3 Years Ago
        Just back at my desk. Was out driving my BMW like an *******.
        stuck in 90s
        • 3 Years Ago
        It's Friday night John! ... so I am texting you at the bar, but it's so sad pretending to have fun outside on the start of the weekend, i should just go home and be on Autoblog right now... my true hapiness especially being the designated driver :P Agressive driving ?? Here i come!
      dragonrage1191
      • 3 Years Ago
      As a Psychology student, I would love to see hoe they conducted this. I do agree on the question of what they consider "Aggressive"...if only I can access Wiley..smh. Honestly though, just from personal experience, the worst drivers are the ones who hate driving.
        Jon Norman
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dragonrage1191
        Forget Psychology and take up a trade or a science degree. We need inventors, not more liberal arts people sliding through college and getting out to a jobless economy and living in their parent's basement. I have a Geophysics degree and working PAYS A GOOD CHUNK OF CHANGE. Heed my words.
        dragonrage1191
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dragonrage1191
        *how...darn mistyping....
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      mctech01
      • 3 Years Ago
      A few other people said the same thing, comparing someone that drives over the speed limit but "pays attention" to the speed limit observer, but not really paying attention isn't exactly valid. 99% of the people that disregard the speed limit are the same ones not paying attention as well. Not to mention that speed in fact does kill. More speed, longer breaking time. The faster the car is going when it crashes, the damage increases exponentially. People are just always in a rush to get nowhere fast. Being aggressive doesn't make you a "good" driver. Just chill out.
      Fat Stig
      • 3 Years Ago
      I see theyve confused "aggressive driving" with "good driving" again.
      Vision7
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's not aggressive driving, it's merely assertive driving. There is a significant difference.
      MyerShift
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not always breaking the law, but rather just driving the vehicle up to it's capabilities. Squealing tires and hard cornering are NOT breaking the law.
        Xedicon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MyerShift
        Umm, actually in most cases it is, sorry buddy. :(
      Johnny Trailerpark
      • 3 Years Ago
      Authored by a chick. Explains a lot. "It's just an extension of men's penises blah, blah, blah. Men suck."
      Michael S
      • 3 Years Ago
      There's a word for "people who perceive their car as a reflection of their self-identity." Douchebags.
      ShadowVlican
      • 3 Years Ago
      also tend to be better drivers
      Carac
      • 3 Years Ago
      They are also more likely to have higher situational awareness while driving, quicker to react to situations, and take the act of driving more seriously than everyone around them. Even truer if the car buff has car other car buffs respect, and even more true if he worked hard for and respects the car.
        Carac
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Carac
        For instance, if I were able to work hard, scrounge, and pay for my dream car, I am willing to bet there is a statistically significant reduction in the chance I will have an "at-fault" accident.
          Xedicon
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Carac
          Haha, that's exactly the reason that I'm a mostly conservative driver these days. I don't have my perfect dream car, but I really like it a lot, so I'm willing to wait for one more car to go by or not run a red light just to play it safe with my baby. Pegging my boost gauge @ 15psi is what the track is for!
      - v o c t u s -
      • 3 Years Ago
      All I've got to say is when I pull up next to a 911 turbo and roll my passenger window down, that b*tch better take off like a Saturn V or I consider it to be rude. I have actually flipped off lazy drivers of exotic cars before. It digs at me somehow. If you've got it, flaunt it, or mothball it. Don't be a 500hp tease.
        se30chris
        • 3 Years Ago
        @- v o c t u s -
        That has to be the dumbest thing I've read all day. You flip people off because they aren't flooring their exotic cars for you? Because rolling your window down commands them to do so. Yes, all owners of exotic cars must drive balls to the wall 24/7.
        Xedicon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @- v o c t u s -
        I'm with se30chris on this one - dumbest thing I've read all day as well. Have you actually driven one of these "teaser" rides? I have. They all have so much power that going like a bat out of hell from a light in traffic will equal immediate disaster. If anything the person who you're flipping off is doing you a favor by not wrecking into your car. n00b.
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