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Fast Driving Linked to the Will of Being Macho

Oct 31, 2007
A team of researchers from Switzerland and Germany suggest that young men enjoy fast driving because speed is in fact perceived and innately male.

Researchers working at the Universities of Zurich, Neuchatel and Heidelberg discovered that a "typical male environment" can explain the fact that men exposed to it drive much faster than men in a female on neutral environments.

Marianne Schmid Mast, Neuchatel psychology professor, together with her colleagues analyzed the behavior of 83 males, whose age was between 20 and 27. All of them passed through driving simulators.

It turned out that men accelerated in moments when they were played certain words like "muscle" or "beard", which scientists have chosen to call to mind masculine features. The words were played over the car radio and within a simulated male environment.

When being exposed to a female environments and hearing such words like "lipstick" or "pink", men drove slower by about 2km/h. The same results were registered in a simulated neutral environment, involving such words as "table" or "chair".

The concern about a significant number of young men involved in road accidents was the main reason why the researchers began their study. According to Schmid Mast the results of the study could be statistically important.

"The link between a macho attitude and aggressive driving has often been evoked but it hadn't been demonstrated," the scientist told AFP.

According to the researchers, their findings might help develop road safety campaigns that could part speed from masculinity. Among the proposed ideas is the campaign in which seven times Formula One motor racing champion Michael Schumacher slowly drives on ordinary roads within the city or other areas.

Marianne Schmid Mast mentioned that she looks forward to conduct the same research on women.

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