Researchers from MIT and Berkeley have conducted a rather interesting study on the correlation between posture and behavior. While this normally wouldn't be of much interest, the study analyzed more specifically how a car's seating position can affect the driver's behavior, which we find to be a rather interesting hypothesis.

The study conducted four experiments, although only the last two interest us. The gist is that expansive posture and positioning often led to unethical or dishonest behavior, such as noticing, accepting and not mentioning overpayment as well as cheating on tasks.

In particular, the third experiment focused on how a driver's seating position influences their driving style. The researchers plopped participants down, not in a real vehicle on a public road or closed track, but in a desk chair, in front of a monitor and a Playstation 3, with a copy of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit playing. Using a $90 gaming steering wheel, participants were allowed one practice run before the actual race. If they completed the race in under five minutes, they'd win $10, with one major caveat: they'd be forced to stop for ten seconds after each impact or collision. Seating positions were randomly chosen for each participant, with some in a contracted and some in an expansive position. The study also took a trip into the real world to record the correlation between double parking, vehicle size and the amount of room drivers had.

The results? Drivers with more expansive driving positions drove more recklessly in Need For Speed, while they were also more likely to double park, regardless of the length and difficulty that came with parking their vehicles (which researchers accounted for).

Now, we're not scientists, but a number of things stand out here that have us wondering how credible these findings are. In the third experiment, it can't seriously be believed that a three-year-old, arcade-minded racing game with a cheap steering wheel and a one-monitor setup is an accurate replica of a real cockpit, right? People, regardless of driving position, tend to drive far more recklessly in video games because the sole consequence is having to press the Reset button (or in this case, miss out on $10). Death, lawsuit or severe bodily injury, on the other hand, are always there when driving in the real world.

As for the fourth study, it was conducted in the heart of New York City, a place where parking spots and driving manners are just rumors and whispers, with little evidence of either. We'd have to believe that if someone found one of these mystical parking spots, they'd be far more concerned about just getting their car in it – regardless of their vehicle type – because they've been driving around the city for three hours looking for a spot. Click over for the full research paper, and let us know what you think of the study in Comments.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 42 Comments
      Timothy Tibbetts
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't pick up hookers, shoot them, get my money back and drive away but I do in Grand Theft Auto. I did, however, stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night
      Quentin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why is the H3 shown? It definitely doesn't have a roomy cabin.
      Carac
      • 1 Year Ago
      So we should consult Countach owners when faced with difficult ethics problems?
      Adrian Elliot
      • 1 Year Ago
      Gordon Chen already mentioned, but I will repeat that the correct spelling is "Berkeley" with another e.
      Kunal Bhan
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's spelled Berkeley**
      Brian
      • 1 Year Ago
      What a terrible pic for this, if anyone has ever been in a H3, the last thing you would say is that it's "roomy".
        clquake
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Brian
        For a vehicle of its external size, the interior is remarkably cramped.
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 1 Year Ago
      This seems far too convoluted to draw much conclusion from it.
      PICKLEBOY
      • 1 Year Ago
      Seriously? not to mention the fact that when you drive a higher/bigger vehicles in racing games its more fun to crash through everyone because you can!
      bullitt2605
      • 1 Year Ago
      In other news having run out of any meaningful studies to do Berkeley no conducting meaningless studies.
      FuelToTheFire
      • 1 Year Ago
      Of course our communist nanny state government wants to crack down on large cars. I drive just about the largest car possible, a 2008 Hummer H2. You know ehy? I actaully want my family to be safe in the event of a crash. The only reason I bought a Hummer is because an M1 Abrahms isn't street legal. Also I don't see the problem with "double parking," something mentioned in the study. I do it all the time. If I don't feel comfortable with only one parking space, why can't I have more. I am entitled to as much parking space as I feel like having. More likely than not, the people who are against "double parkig" are leftist communists who want everyone to be "equal", but find no problem in taxing the hell out of people who happen to be successful. Also, considering that these are leftists we are talking about, their definition of "aggressive driving" is probably wayward as well. I do many things while I'm driving which our nanny state government doesn't want me to do, like texting, talking on the phone, not using turn signals, cutting off people, and running yellow, and occassionally, red lights. Moral of the story? Common sense>law and order. Anyone with a pich of common sense knows that these behaviors are perfectly fine in certain situation. Overall, very flawed surveys, but there is no doubt that the government will use it to barge into our lives even more than they usually do.
        KaiserWilhelm
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Go away obvious troll, just go away...
        King of Eldorado
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        I looked at the study, which explains that by "double-parking" they mean parking in a traffic lane adjacent to a row of parallel-parked vehicles, not taking up 2 parking places.
          Drakkon
          • 1 Year Ago
          @King of Eldorado
          WOO! You found Eldorado? Did you find the gold?
        Drakkon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Did you bother to look at any crash data or just go with the 'big and pisses off lefties, ergo safe' type of thinking?
      Gordon Chen
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's spelled "Berkeley", not "Berkley"
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Gordon Chen
        [blocked]
        Timothy Tibbetts
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Gordon Chen
        Considering the "science" used here, it's likely the professors there are not real clear on the spelling either.
        John Hughan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Gordon Chen
        I'm glad someone else pointed this out. Hey AB, how about taking the time to make sure you've spelled the name of one of the world's top higher education institutions correctly? I'll admit to some bias given that Berkeley is my alma mater, but your proofreading/editing in general has steadily declined to either total garbage or non-existence recently, and judging by the fact that the errors are never corrected afterward, it seems the AB staff don't even read the comments on their own articles.
      Mao Lenin Guevara
      • 1 Year Ago
      This study is an example of how federal money is wasted. Really? they based this on playing a video game? Ridiculous.
        davebo357
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mao Lenin Guevara
        Or it would be... if this study had received any federal funding.
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