Thursday, 19 June 2008

Bumper stickers and road rage

This is great: it sort of proves something that I have always suspected but could never really be proved:

Drivers with bumper stickers are likely to be aggressive!!!

In the scientific jargon of the researchers from Colorado State University, bumper stickers are "territory markers”.

But in everyday language it’s this:

The findings, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, were part of a multi-year study involving more than 500 drivers. Aggression was measured through such activities as honking, tailgating, blocking traffic or trying to run another driver off the road. "Territory markers" included anything of a personal nature: decorative seat covers, vanity plates, window decals and other adornments.

Drivers who had at least one marker in or on their car were 15 per cent more likely to retaliate when they felt their territory had been threatened, reports study co-author William Szlemko.

"We have a lot of instincts that animals have," he says. "Many people respond as if the violation took place in their home and not in a public place."

But are the messages themselves important?

Apparently not.

Someone displaying a “Jesus Saves” sticker is just as likely to be as aggressive as someone showing a “My Kid Beat Up Your Honour Student” sticker.

Another victory for the skeptics!