The middle aged man in the brightly colored sports car rumbles by, and it’s hard not to think of that old chestnut: “Guy’s gotta be compensating for something, eh?” And whatever the reality of the matter is, it’s always seemed clear that the perception of compensation drove both the cliche, and almost certainly some proportion of sports cars’ sales. Now a research team at University College London has attempted to penetrate the matter with some science. You can read the study right here.
The answer? Yes, size matters—at least, in the minds of the men studied. The researchers told participants of the study that they’d be “studying how people remember facts at the same time as shopping for products.” One group of men were shown information about average penis size, but the numbers were inflated, leading that group to think, perhaps, they were under-endowed. And then they were shown some luxury items, and asked to rank how much they’d like to have the product. Later, they were told the information was false. As an aside, the participants overestimated the average penis size by almost an inch anyways.
The idea here is that penis size and self-esteem would be strongly correlated, and men with lower self-esteem would be more interested in one of the six sports cars shown in the study. The data proved that out, according to the researchers, and older male participants tended to want a sports car more than younger respondents.
The bottom line? It seems that men who believe they had a smaller penis had a greater desire for a sports car. It’s a result that might not shock anyone who has opinions about the psychological motivations driving some automotive purposes, but they study did try to exclude generalized low self esteem. So it seems that there’s a particularly strong link between what the researchers call “genital inadequacy” and interest in sports cars.
The study was conducted in the U.K., where car (and more importantly, truck) culture is a little different. Nor has it been peer-reviewed yet, so we’ll let the experts weigh in on the methodology and how much to read into this paper. But wouldn’t it be interesting to re-do the study in the U.S. and see the results for lifted, modified full-size pickups?
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