You are what you drive, according to a couple of recent studies. And if you drive a flashy expensive car, there's a high chance it's because you are a self-centered gentleman who is "argumentative, stubborn, disagreeable and unempathetic." In other words, an asshole. Not only that, but for every $1,000 more you spend on a car, the chance you'll stop for a pedestrian goes down by 3%.
According to CNN:
Researchers from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas speculated that the expensive car owners "felt a sense of superiority over other road users" and were less able to empathize with lowly sidewalk-dwellers.
They came to this conclusion after asking volunteers to cross a sidewalk hundreds of times, filming and analyzing the responses by car drivers...
The best predictor of whether a car would stop was its cost, researchers discovered. "Disengagement and a lower ability to interpret thoughts and feelings of others along with feelings of entitlement and narcissism may lead to a lack of empathy for pedestrians" among costly car owners, they theorized in the study.
This study isn't the first of its kind. Another similar study by the University of Helsinki, found that "Audi and BMW drivers seemed much more likely to ignore traffic regulations and drive recklessly," according to their newsletter.
“I had noticed that the ones most likely to run a red light, not give way to pedestrians and generally drive recklessly and too fast were often the ones driving fast German cars,” says [John] Lönnqvist of the University of Helsinki’s Swedish School of Social Science...
“But we also found that those whose personality was deemed more disagreeable were more drawn to high-status cars. These are people who often see themselves as superior and are keen to display this to others.”
This doesn't mean that you are a BMW-driving asshole. Lucky for you, the Helsinki study also found a category of expensive car drivers who are conscientious.
One of the more unexpected results was that another personality type is also drawn to high-status cars: the conscientious. People with this type of personality are, as a rule, respectable, ambitious, reliable and well-organised. They take care of themselves and their health and often perform well at work.
“The link is presumably explained by the importance they attach to high quality. All makes of car have a specific image, and by driving a reliable car they are sending out the message that they themselves are reliable,” Lönnqvist explains.