A car’s face, or front end, is usually the most expressive part of the vehicle. The design of the headlights, grille, and front bumper is also diverse, giving the car a variety of expressions. Vehicles of the past, such as the classic Volkswagen Beetle and his MINI, often had happy faces, but many modern cars are heading in the opposite direction. why is this? Let’s take a closer look.
Man anthropomorphizes a modern car with a mean face
Mean, aggressive, angry, many modern cars have faces that express negative human emotions. Think the aggressive-looking grille of a Ford F-150 Raptor, the menacing stance of a Lamborghini Huracan, or the Evil Eye of some new BMW with a strange front end.
Today’s vehicles are a far cry from the familiar designs of yesteryear. Even the happy-looking MINI Countryman in the 1960s now has an aggressive design with a menacing reptilian front end.
Humans anthropomorphize many things. You can find letters in clouds, moons, trees, or rock formations. Personification also includes cars. This phenomenon has a name. It’s called pareidolia.
A Pareidolia study found that car buyers prefer cars with angry, aggressive designs.
European research firm EFS Consulting Vienna conducted a study on pareidolia on how a car’s face influences a car’s likeability. For this study, the research firm asked his 40 people (20 men, 20 women) to rate car models based on a system called geometric morphometry.
As Live Science elaborates, study participants were asked to test a vehicle on a sliding scale for traits that include “maturity, gender, attitude, emotion, personality, and everything else that can be inferred from a human face at a glance.” was evaluated. Participants rated the car’s features and then “answered the question whether the car could see a human face, an animal face, or no face at all.” Finally, they answered whether they liked the car.
By an overwhelming margin, participants preferred cars with angry faces that conveyed a sense of “power.” The ‘high power’ cars favored in the study, such as the BMW 5 Series, ‘tend to be lower or wider and have slit or angled headlights with wider air intakes.’ .
Car designers make cars with angry faces because people want them.
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Automakers spend a lot of money developing and designing cars, so naturally they want to pay close attention to designing cars that people are likely to buy. And as research shows, people like cars with angry faces. The research study was so insightful that the chief designer of a major automaker wanted to buy the rights outright.
Also in a discussion with CarSifu, an automotive expert said, “Some manufacturers are using eye movement tracking and EEG measurements to determine how people think about the look of their cars in pre-manufacturing styling clinics. We are checking to see if they respond to The expert also detailed how the designers focused on the front of the car. This is likely to have an emotional impact on those who view it.
Automotive designers also draw inspiration from the animal kingdom. This includes animals that symbolize strength and power, such as bears and buffaloes.
Will future cars have happier faces?
Related: Why do cars have two headlights instead of one?
But one of the dangers of modern automotive designers is taking things too far by making their faces look mean and angry. This can discourage car buyers and encourage a return to happy-faced cars. And while aggressive-looking vehicles are popular today, many of our most beloved classics have happy faces, such as the gorgeous Jaguar E-Type.
Self-driving cars are another thing that could push automakers to make cars with happy faces. Many people fear self-driving cars. Because self-driving cars are forced to relinquish control, which causes anxiety. As a remedy to this fear, automakers may design self-driving cars to appear friendlier. In fact, Google is already doing this with a fully autonomous prototype car like the one you’ve seen in the cartoons.
However, cars with angry, mean and aggressive faces are the dominant choice. If you want to look tough and menacing while cruising down the road, there’s no shortage of options.
Related: Despite the funny face, is it worth buying the electric BMW iX?