If someone were to tell you that women are angrier than men when they get behind the wheel of a car, you might be a little skeptical. But luckily that’s what science is for — to bust up preconceived notions that are demonstrably not true.
In that vein, automaker Hyundai reported on Thursday that a recent study of 1,000 U.K. drivers revealed that women, on average, are 12% angrier than men when driving their cars. The drivers were “sense-tested” to determine emotional responses to sound, sight, smell, touch and taste in different driving scenarios.
Automobiles generate two dominant emotions, according behavioral psychologist Patrick Fagan who conducted the study: happiness and anger. About half (51%) of U.K. drivers said that they love driving because of the freedom it gives, and 54% said that what really makes them happy is singing while driving. Carpool Karaoke anyone?
The study found that driving ignited the age-old “defense” instincts developed when humans were hunter-gatherers:
These evolutionary traits kicked in during the test when women were either undertaken [passing on the right in the United States], shouted or beeped at, had to deal with a back-seat driver (women 14% angrier) or were faced with a road user who failed to indicate [use the turn signals] (women 13% angrier). In all test scenarios, women were more likely to respond with anger than male drivers.
Fagan explained further:
Psychologically, women score higher than men on emotional and verbal intelligence, and on the personality trait of neuroticism. Evolutionary theory suggests our early female ancestors had to develop an acute sense of danger for anything that threatened them and their young if their cave was undefended while men were out hunting. That ‘early warning system’ instinct is still relevant today, and women drivers tend to be more sensitive to negative stimuli, so get angry and frustrated quicker.
We have no further comment, but you can read the Hyundai announcement for yourself.