ASU expert discusses 'why cars move men'
<p>Cars and men: it’s a powerful dynamic that has existed since the advent of the automobile. Men often view their cars as more than machinery and count on them to provide a sense of freedom, status, coming-of-age and more. But why?</p><p>Making sense of the mystery is Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Dan Neil, who calls upon a century’s worth of academic inquiry to explore men’s fascination with, and adoration of, cars in “Driven: Why Cars Move Men,” appearing in the April 2010 issue of Men’s Health magazine.</p><p>Citing studies and experts in diverse fields, Neil found that – among other things – cars give men a feeling of being able to control their destiny and assert their masculinity through technology and grant the ability for them to literally get away from it all.</p><p>And what about the habit of men naming and talking to their cars?</p><p>Neil points to a study by Jameson M. Wetmore, an assistant professor of science and technology studies in Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which notes that anthropomorphizing cars is a way for humans to attempt to mediate technology. Wetmore says, “When people give their cars human names, it can smooth the interactions they have with a complicated mode of transportation.” It can lessen intimidation and confusion and offer a sense of familiarity.</p>