Monday, September 7, 2009

Watch Out for Those Bumpers

Cartoon of two men talking by a car. One says to the other, Sure I believe in stuff. I just don't 'bumper sticker believe' in anything.
Today's F Minus cartoon by Tony Carrillo reminded me of a study that showed people who have bumper stickers are more likely to be aggressive drivers.

Colorado State University social psychologist William Szlemko's theory is that putting bumper stickers on your car is a way of marking your territory, and that people who put them on are therefore more likely to use their cars to mark territory as well, resulting in aggressive driving.

Not only that, but the more bumper stickers, the more aggressive. According to the Post article:

It does not seem to matter whether the messages on the stickers are about peace and love -- "Visualize World Peace," "My Kid Is an Honor Student" -- or angry and in your face -- "Don't Mess With Texas," "My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Student."
This is counter-intuitive, and leads me to wonder if there is actually enough data in the studies to differentiate the types of bumper sticker, based on some type of rating of the aggressiveness of the sticker's message.

In a second study, not published yet, Szlemko had one researcher sit in a car in a left-turn lane, blocking another car at a green light. A second researcher observed the back end of the trapped car, noting whether the blocked car had bumper stickers. The finding?

Drivers of cars with decals, bumper stickers and/or personalized license plates honked their horns at the offending vehicle nearly two seconds faster than drivers without personalized markers.

See the full article based on the first study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

1 comment:

Ms Sparrow said...


(I don't have any bumper stickers.)