As a rule, stereotypes are unhelpful. Judging somebody on an arbitrary attribute that ultimately doesn’t tell you anything about who they are is both pointless and problematic. However, as with any rule, there are exceptions.
A new study looks set to confirm everyone’s worst biases about BMW and Mercedes car drivers as research published in the Journal of International Psychology suggests that they are statistically more likely to be a**holes.
Finally, an explanation for all the tailgating, cutting off, and general d**kishness.
According to a press release accompanying the announcement: “The answers were unambiguous: self-centered 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.”Watch As Lithuanian Mayor Crushes Parked Mercedes With Tank:
The idea for the study stemmed from lead researcher Jan-Erik Lönnqvist’s observation 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."
Lönnqvist’s curiosity peaked and he became determined to discover whether “wealth has a corrupting effect on people”, and the University of Helsinki Professor of Social Psychology decided to do some digging.
As he put it in an interview with 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."
Not only did his assessment of 1,892 Finnish drivers lead him to conclude that there was a correlation, but Lönnqvist also found that "the same traits also explain why such people break traffic regulations more frequently than others."
The study also found the relationship between being an ass and owning a nice car did not apply to women.
However, it wasn’t all bad news for high-status car owners. Lönnqvist also concluded that “conscientious” people - both men and women - who are organized, ambitious, respectable, and often high-performing are also drawn to this type of vehicle. He claims this is perhaps because "by driving a reliable car they are sending out the message that they themselves are reliable."
I guess the best way to spot the difference between the two groups is by whether or not they’re speeding, cutting off pedestrians, and giving you the finger...