New study relates stress levels to the state of our vehicles

The emotional impact of the car we drive is surprisingly strong according to a new biometric study of vehicle owners conducted by HCD Research for Jiffy Lube. In a first-of-its kind study, researchers evaluated participants’ emotional responses to stimuli of negative scenarios in a car’s interior as well as exterior.

The emotional impact of the car we drive is strong, according to a new biometric study of vehicle owners conducted by HCD Research. In the study, participant’s feedback was compared with their brain activity as they evaluated cars in bad and good condition. Leading neuroscientists conducted the study to understand the evolving relationship people have with their vehicles.

Specifically, the report found:

  • A dirty car’s participant anxiety scores were more than 40 percentage points higher than a clean car’s score.
  • Dashboard indicators and warning lights induced the highest levels of stress and nervousness. Stress and nervousness were 20 and 35 percentage points higher, respectively, than a dirty/cluttered car.
  • Exterior vehicle damage, such as a cracked windshield, saw stress scores that were nearly 60 percentage points higher than normal scenarios and inducing the highest level of participant anxiety and anger.
  • All of this anxiety and other negative feelings can also continue lingering outside of the car.

To share results from the new HCD Research for Jiffy Lube study, Dr. Michelle Niedziela, a behavioral neuroscience expert and VP of Research and Innovation at HCD Research, appeared on KPRC 2+ Wednesday.

You can stream KPRC 2+ weekdays at 7 a.m. on click2houston.com and the KPRC 2 app.