Like Noisy Cars? You Could Be A Sadist Or Psychopath, Study Says


Study surveyed 529 undergrad male and female business students to investigate appeal of loud exhausts.

The students also completed a Short Dark Tetrad test to check for dark personality traits.

Results linked a love of noisy cars to sadist and psychopathic traits.

The lack of engine and exhaust noise is one of the factors preventing many car enthusiasts from embracing EVs, no matter how fast they can accelerate. But have you ever wondered why some of us love loud pipes and others don’t? A new study says it’s all linked to personality types and that liking noisy cars could be an indicator of sadist or psychopathic tendencies.

Julie Aitken Schermer, a professor of psychology and management and organizational studies at Western University in London, Ontario, came up with the idea for the study while walking her dog close to the campus.

Related: How Do You Feel About Borla’s Fake Exhaust For EVs That Gives The Mach-E V8 Sounds?

“Every day we come across these loud cars and pickup trucks and motorcycles that are backfiring and I get startled,” she told CBC. “My dog was startled. I see the animals run away that are in the trees and squirrels on the ground.

“I thought, ‘Oh, who really wants to make this kind of noise?’ And so a typical academic, I went and did an extensive search and found nothing.”

So Aitken Schermer decided to carry out her own study, surveying 529 male, female and “other” undergrad business students. She asked the participants if loud cars appealed to them and if they would modify their own rides to make them noisier. And Schermer also gave each person a Short Dark Tetrad (SD4) personality test designed to sniff out four dark personality traits: narcissism, sadism, psychopathy and machiavellianism.

She’d expected to find a clear link between narcissism and a liking for loud cars, assuming that the head-turning potential of a noisy engine would appeal to people who like to draw attention to themselves. But instead she found a greater link to sadism and psychopathy.

“It seems to be this callous disregard for other people’s feelings and their reactions,” Aitken Schermer told CBC. “That’s the psychopathy coming out and it’s also they probably get a kick out of enjoying watching people get startled.”

The research was limited to studying young students on a business degree at the same university, and it didn’t ask about feelings towards other noisy vehicle, like motorcycles, so the results wouldn’t necessarily reflect those found in a larger sample group. But do you agree with these findings?

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