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Official: Pretty cars make you happy

2013-11-29 14:29

BEAUTY ISN'T JUST SKIN DEEP: Volvo has proved that beautiful car design evokes powerful, feel-good emotions in men and women. Image: Newspress

Pretty cars tick all the right boxes and now Volvo has scientifically proven that beautiful cars indeed evoke “feel-good” emotions.

Volvo and EEG specialists Myndset conducted the first scientific experiment of its kind to  prove that beautiful car design definitely evokes powerful feelings that are on a par with the most basic of human emotions.

Volvo says the experiment tested respondents to analyse how the brain reacts emotionally to car design and how design aesthetics actually make us feel.


According to Myndset, EEG (electroencephalogram) is the recording of electrical activity along the scalp and measures voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current flows within the neurons of the brain. Results showed that humans react emotionally to the shape of a car, with men in particular coming across as genetically programmed to like sleek design with beautiful lines.

The experiment was done to coincide with the launch of the Volvo Concept Coupe, the first “expressive interpretation of Volvo’s new design strategy aimed at building a more emotive connection with the brand. “

Participants were asked to rate a series of images whilst wearing a EEG headset that measured brainwave activity in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain. Images included the Concept Coupe alongside perceived ‘bad’ and ‘out-dated’ car design, visuals of happy/crying babies and beautiful men and women.

Volvo Cars senior design VP Thomas Ingenlath said: “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.”

Results of the experiment:
 • Men experienced more emotion whilst looking at images of beautiful car design than they did whilst looking at an image of a crying child
 • Women displayed an emotional intensity to the picture of a crying baby which almost doubled that of male participants
 •  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 UK leader in the neuroscience of consumerism and communications Dr David Lewis said: “Appreciating an aesthetically pleasing design is an experience which combines understanding and emotions. These are so closely intertwined that it is impossible to distinguish between them. Aesthetic experience involves a unity of sensuous delight, meaningful interpretation and emotional involvement."

A 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 only image both men and women shared the same reaction was that of a crying baby. They both expressed the highest emotional intensity and the highest negative score of all images. Women displayed the most emotional response to the crying baby, whereas men demonstrated more emotion looking at pictures of beautiful car design than to the picture of the distressed child.

Explore the Volvo Concept Coupe in 3D and create your own personalised heat map. Click here.

What evokes your emotions the most on a car? Visit our home page and VOTE!
Read more on:    volvo  |  england  |  new models

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