In 1968, psychological scientists Anthony Doob and APS Fellow Alan E. Gross came across an interesting finding: People were quicker to honk their horns when they were stuck behind a clunker rather than a newer, more expensive “high status” car. Since then, several other studies have found that drivers of more expensive vehicles are more likely to behave like jerks, cutting in line at four-way stops and failing to stop for pedestrians. In a more recent study, psychological scientists Amanda N. Stephens (Monash University) and John A. Groeger (University of Hull) found further evidence that social status plays a role in people’s willingness to vent their anger at other drivers.
Doob, A. N., & Gross, A. E. (1968). Status of frustrator as an inhibitor of horn-honking responses. The Journal of Social Psychology, 76(2), 213-218.
Stephens, A. N., & Groeger, J. A. (2014). Following slower drivers: Lead driver status moderates driver’s anger and behavioural responses and exonerates culpability. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 22, 140-149. Doi: 10.1016/j.trf.2013.11.005Tags: