The Emotive Power of Car Design

Emotive Car Design by Lauren Fix, The Car Coach

Hello, I’m Lauren Fix, The Car Coach. Car design can powerfully affect our most basic human emotions. Volvo Cars presented the results of the world’s first experiment in this area ands reveal the emotive power of car design.

The first scientific experiment of its kind has revealed that a beautiful car design can tangibly evoke a powerful range of feelings that are on par with the most basic of human emotions. The scientific experiment, conducted by Volvo Car Group (Volvo Cars) in collaboration with EEG specialists Myndplay, tested respondents to analyze how the brain reacts emotionally to car design and how design aesthetics actually make us feel.

EEG is the recording of electrical activity along the scalp and measures voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current flows within the neurons of the brain. The experiment proved that humans react emotionally to the shape of a car, with men in particular seeming almost genetically programmed to like sleek design with beautiful lines.

This survey finally proves what we’ve always suspected. Beautiful car design can elicit strong emotional responses ranging from a positive frame of mind to a sense of empowerment.

  • 74% of men claimed that good design made them feel positive
  • Only 33% of women rated images of car design higher than an image of an attractive man
  • 60% of men claimed that driving a beautiful car makes them feel confident and empowered

A parallel survey conducted by OnePoll revealed that 43% of men said that they found the car shape and design to be the most appealing aspect, over the interior, gadgets, wheels and engine. The front of the car was the most attractive feature for men, in contrast to the reaction from women where the rear of the car scored the most highly.

The results of the experiment are not groundbreaking but it puts a scientific spin on what most car lovers already know in that place where all our emotions hang out – the heart and soul!

Carmakers know this too. They have museums displaying their cars, each one polished and presented like a piece of fine art. At the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, over 160 cars from the brand’s 127-year history are displayed in 178,000 square feet of exhibition space over nine floors.

The study may help explain a common car-buying phenomena; a car buyer is faced with two choices, Car A and Car B, where Car A is the sensible choice scoring top marks for price, reliability and fuel economy; but the buyer can’t walk away from Car B because it just looks so good. You might call this situation letting the heart rule the head. But really it’s just an example of the emotive power of good car design.

Courtesy of Time Warner Cable and Volvo Cars

Aired: 2/24/2014

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