Brad Messer Commentary
8:15 a.m. Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2003


Car Faces

A Mazda Miata has a cute face with a child's happy smile. A Nissan 350Z looks like you leaned out a car window at 75 miles per hour, mouth open and cheeks inflated. The new Mini Cooper has an upside-down smile that looks geeky.

Some cars don't have faces. Jaguar S-Type has a rounded hole where its nose should be. No, wait: that's Michael Jackson. The Cadillac SRX looks like a robot trying to smile but failing.

Women like cars with cute faces. Men too, but we don't prance around admitting it.

Researchers did a test. They rigged brain sensors to a group of men. Then they showed photos of cars, and of people's faces.

Whether the men looked at a face, or a car, they used the exact same brain circuits.

Men appeared to use precisely the same brain function to process BMWs and blondes. I suspect if the research continues, it'll turn out we also use the same circuits for beer, monster trucks and the Dallas Cowboys in a good season. I guess the 'boys having a winning season would be in our primitive, prehistoric genes. Give yourself a test right now, men: have those huge Chrysler Concorde grille openings ever reminded you of Anna Nicole Smith's big mouth? Or a bigmouth bass? You can't help it. We are hardwired that way.

Brad Messer— commentary, KTSA.

New Scientist 3/10/2003
Car lovers recognise vehicles as faces

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