Human Nature

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 331–346

Face to Face

The Perception of Automotive Designs

Authors

  • Sonja Windhager
    • Ludwig-Boltzmann-Institute for Urban Ethology, Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Vienna
    • Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Vienna
    • EFS Unternehmensberatung GmbH
  • Dennis E. Slice
    • Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Vienna
    • Department of Scientific ComputingFlorida State University, Dirac Science Library
  • Katrin Schaefer
    • Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Vienna
  • Elisabeth Oberzaucher
    • Ludwig-Boltzmann-Institute for Urban Ethology, Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Vienna
    • EFS Unternehmensberatung GmbH
    • Ludwig-Boltzmann-Institute for Urban Ethology, Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Vienna
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12110-008-9047-z

Cite this article as:
Windhager, S., Slice, D.E., Schaefer, K. et al. Hum Nat (2008) 19: 331. doi:10.1007/s12110-008-9047-z

Abstract

Over evolutionary time, humans have developed a selective sensitivity to features in the human face that convey information on sex, age, emotions, and intentions. This ability might not only be applied to our conspecifics nowadays, but also to other living objects (i.e., animals) and even to artificial structures, such as cars. To investigate this possibility, we asked people to report the characteristics, emotions, personality traits, and attitudes they attribute to car fronts, and we used geometric morphometrics (GM) and multivariate statistical methods to determine and visualize the corresponding shape information. Automotive features and proportions are found to covary with trait perception in a manner similar to that found with human faces. Emerging analogies are discussed. This study should have implications for both our understanding of our prehistoric psyche and its interrelation with the modern world.

Keywords

Automobiles Faces Geometric morphometrics Human perception Maturity Trait allocation

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008