Posts Tagged ‘human psychology’

By Rob Picheta

The science is looking pretty unanimous on this one: Drivers of expensive cars are the worst.

A new study has found that drivers of flashy vehicles are less likely to stop and allow pedestrians to cross the road — with the likelihood they’ll slow down decreasing by 3% for every extra $1,000 that their vehicle is worth.

Researchers from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas speculated that the expensive car owners “felt a sense of superiority over other road users” and were less able to empathize with lowly sidewalk-dwellers.

They came to this conclusion after asking volunteers to cross a sidewalk hundreds of times, filming and analyzing the responses by car drivers.

Researchers used one white and one black man, and one white and one black woman — also finding that cars were more likely to yield for the white and female participants. Vehicles stopped 31% of the time for both women and white participants, compared with 24% of the time for men and 25% of the time for black volunteers.

But the best predictor of whether a car would stop was its cost, researchers discovered. “Disengagement and a lower ability to interpret thoughts and feelings of others along with feelings of entitlement and narcissism may lead to a lack of empathy for pedestrians” among costly car owners, they theorized in the study.

And the discovery of a car-value-to-jerkish-behavior correlation isn’t new; the research, published in the Journal of Transport and Health, backed up a Finnish study published last month that found that men who own flashy vehicles are more likely to be “argumentative, stubborn, disagreeable and unempathetic.”

According to that survey of 1,892 drivers by the University of Helsinki, those deemed to have more disagreeable character traits were “more drawn to high-status cars.”

But it also found that conscientious people often favor higher-priced vehicles, too. If you’re reading this while stuck in traffic in your brand new BMW: yes, you’re definitely in that category.

“I had noticed that the ones most likely to run a red light, not give way to pedestrians and generally drive recklessly and too fast were often the ones driving fast German cars,” Helsinki University’s Jan-Erik Lönnqvist said in a press release.

He set out to discover what kind of person is more likely to buy an expensive car, creating a personality test of Finnish car owners.

“The answers were unambiguous: self-centred men who are argumentative, stubborn, disagreeable and unempathetic are much more likely to own a high-status car such as an Audi, BMW or Mercedes,” the press release states.

“These personality traits explain the desire to own high-status products, and the same traits also explain why such people break traffic regulations more frequently than others,” Lönnqvist added.

His study cited previous research that indicated drivers behind the wheel of a costly vehicle are more likely to flout traffic regulations or drive recklessly.

But he also found people with “conscientious” characters seek out pricey models, too.

“People with this type of personality are, as a rule, respectable, ambitious, reliable and well-organised,” the statement said. “They take care of themselves and their health and often perform well at work.”

https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/world/expensive-car-drivers-study-scli-scn-intl/index.html

When it comes to fairness and privilege, a new study finds it really is not about how you play the game. It’s about whether you win or lose.

A new experiment, played out as a card game, shows that even when the deck is literally stacked in people’s favor — and they know it — most winners still think it’s fair anyway. Losers don’t, according to a study in Wednesday’s journal Science Advances .

The study “tells us something about privilege and about society,” said Bates College sociologist Emily Kane, who wasn’t part of the research. “It reminds us how powerful perceptions are — it’s not just what is happening that matters, it’s often more a matter of what we think is happening,” she wrote in an email.

The research shows how people who have advantages in life can give themselves too much credit in explaining how they got so far, Kane said.

It all started when some Cornell University sociology graduate students were playing a card game that rewards someone who has already won. Study lead author Mario D. Molina noticed that people who won — because the rules benefited them — thought it was their skill, when it mostly wasn’t.

So Molina and colleagues created their own game that would take away randomness as much as possible and rewarded winners by letting them discard their worst cards and take away the losers’ best cards. Nearly 1,000 players were shown how it works and how the game was rigged to help the winners.

The players were asked if the game was fair, based on luck or based on skill. Molina said 60% of the winners thought the game was fair, compared with 30% of the losers. And when it came to explaining who won, winners attributed it to talent three times more often than losers.

Once the game got even more unfair, with a second round of card exchanges to further benefit the winners, far fewer winners thought the game was fair. Molina called that “the Warren Buffett effect,” after the billionaire who has called on higher taxes for the rich to level the playing field.

Molina said this is just a game and noted that the players tended to be younger, whiter and richer than America as a whole — so using these results to explain society more broadly could be too much of a leap. Yet he said it is useful when thinking about economic privilege.

The main message of the study was pessimistic, said Eliot Smith, a brain sciences professor at Indiana University who wasn’t involved in the research: People have problems making moral judgments about fairness when it benefits them.

https://www.apnews.com/27514e41dfa4479fb304b614fb37a5af