When people look at a car from the front, they sometimes see a face, with the grill being the mouth and the headlights being the eyes. A new study suggests that people prefer cars that look angry and dominant to cars that look pleasant and nice.
Apparently, the study focused on the phenomenon of pareidolia, when we see faces or human characteristics in everything from cars to clouds. Researchers are trying to understand what goes on in the brain when people see faces in objects, to help automakers design more appealing cars, reports LiveScience and MSNBC.
The study asked 20 men and 20 women to rate 38 passenger cars from model years 2004 to 2006. If they saw a face when they looked at a car, they were asked to draw the facial features on the car’s picture.
The participants also were asked to rate certain traits of the cars. The traits represented maturity, sex, attitudes, emotions and personality. Finally, participants were asked whether they liked a car or not.
The cars they liked the best were ones that ranked high on power traits, like the BMW 5 Series.
In the future, the researchers plan to interview people in Ethiopia who don’t have familiarity with modern car models, and eventually extend their research across other countries.
So what kind of face does your car have? Is it an angry, powerful car or a nice, polite car?
Illustration by Duane Hoffmann via msnbc.com.