Cars Have Their Own Faces

Most people are aware of the fact that the styling and aesthetics of automobiles are somewhat anthropomorphic in nature, and that the styling is based on the psychological and sociological characteristics of the target customer group.

A recent research study asked Austrians and Ethiopians to rate 46 standardised frontal views of automobiles. Subjective impressions of perceived maturity, maleness and dominance were highly similar in both countries, with patterns comparable to shape changes during facial growth in humans. The Austrian participants further attributed some degree of interpersonal attitudes and emotions to the automobile shapes, whereas neither the Austrians nor the Ethiopians consistently ascribed human personalities.

“Cars have their own faces”: cross-cultural ratings of car shapes in biological terms
Windhager, Bookstein, Oberzaucher, Said, Slice, Thorstensen and Schaefer
Evolution and Human Behavior, Volume 33, Issue 2, March 2012, Pages 109–120


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