People read car fronts just as they do human faces

September 23rd, 2008 - 5:36 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, September 23 (ANI): Just like people identify others sex, age, emotions, and intentions by looking at their faces, they also attribute such characteristics to inanimate objects like cars.
A team of researchers, including University of Vienna experts, asked people to report the characteristics, emotions, personality traits, and attitudes that they ascribed to car fronts.
The team also used geometric morphometrics to calculate the corresponding shape information.
The researchers observed that one-third of the subjects associated a human or animal face with at least 90 per cent of the cars.
All subjects marked eyes (headlights), a mouth (air intake/grille), and a nose in more than 50 percent of the cars.
The authors also found that people liked cars most that had a wide stance, a narrow windshield, and/or widely spaced, narrow headlights.
The better the subjects liked a car, the more it bore shape characteristics corresponding to high values of what the authors termed power, indicating that both men and women like mature, dominant, masculine, arrogant, angry-looking cars.
However, the researchers surmise that it is not necessary that people will always buy cars with such traits.
The collaborators conclude: We show that distinct features in the car fronts correspond to different trait attributions. Thus, humans possibly interpret even inanimate structures in biological terms, which could have implications for driving and pedestrian behavior. With respect to practical applications, a tool for automobile designers to style cars according to a desired image could be derived.
A research article describing the study has been published in the journal Human Nature. (ANI)

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