Remember, boys, this is science, so you can’t come for me. Come for science.
I grew up on Disney films and my mums idioms and tidbits. It sounds basic, but they’ve generally steered me well in life; the only real criticism mum has ever really had about me as a 30-year-old, self-sufficient adult is that I’m “too shady”, and that’s only ’cause she’s just learned what that actually means.
I’ve told her it’s just a requisite of being a media gay, but she still says it as if it’s a bad thing. Big thank to Drag Race UK for teaching her that one.
Anyway, to the point, one of mum’s juicy mantras has always been, “never judge a book by it’s cover”, and deep down, I never really do. We’re all complicated people made up of layers and layers and Mum taught me to unravel them, so I do. Unfortunately – sorry, Mum – her mantra has never really applied to the stereotype that all male BMW, Audi and Mercedes drivers are generally d**k heads.
We’ve all been cut off, undertaken, sworn at, hell, even run off the road by some obnoxious male BMW/Mercedes driver at some point in our driving lives, haven’t we? All because they know their car is ten times better than our clanky old hand-me-down. They’re right, but they don’t have to a**es about it.
Cyclists, do I even need to go there?
According to new research, this stereotype could descend from actual fact. According to new research published in the Journal of International Psychology we now have statistics that actually prove that if you’re BMW, Audi or Mercedes driver, then you’re probably a bit of a d**k.
A press release accompanying the research says:
“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 idea for the study came from lead researcher Jan-Erik Lönnqvist, who noticed that drivers “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.”
Yes, yes and then some more YES.
The University of Helsinki Professor of Social Psychology was determined to investigate and confirm the lifelong suspicions of literally every road user in the world, focusing on whether “wealth has a corrupting effect on people.”
We’re all thinking of the same person, right?
Lönnqvist assessed 1,892 Finnish drivers and concluded that there was indeed a correlation. He also surmised that “the same traits also explain why such people break traffic regulations more frequently than others.”
He explains his research to Eureka Alert:
“Those whose personality was deemed more disagreeable were more drawn to high-status cars. These are people who often see themselves as superior and are keen to display this to others.”
Interestingly, his study also found that the relationship between owning a high-status car and being a d**k head does not actually apply to women. Sorry, guys.
Silver lining time, lads. Obviously not ALL swanky car owners are a**e holes and Lönnqvist’s study actually proved that, too. He concluded that “conscientious” people (regardless of sex) who are reliable and ambitious are also drawn to these types of cars. He suggests that this could be because “by driving a reliable car they are sending out the message that they themselves are reliable.”
Did we really need science to help us out with that one? Not really, but at least I feel less judgemental now. Mum will be pleased.
Images via Getty and BBC3
Having worked in children's media and publishing for almost a decade, Ben is thoroughly excited to now be able to swear in stories and features. He is such a big fan of Disney and Horror films that he started an LGBTQ+ podcast called 'Once Upon A Scream'. His mum listens. You can contact Ben at [email protected] Twitter: @PulsfordBen / Instagram: @thebenmidlerFollow