Show Details

Car Talk

November 18, 2008

Drivers make fewer mistakes when hearing a voice that matches their mood.


Car talk that matches your mood…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
(Clip of sad car voice): Hi, my name is Chris, and I’ll be your virtual passenger for today. We’re going to be driving…(fade out)
HIRSHON: You might think that hearing such a morose voice in your car might make you want to run yourself off the road. But according to computer scientist and social scientist Clifford Nass of Stanford University’s CarLab, a sad voice actually helps bummed-out drivers make fewer mistakes. He and colleagues tested happy and sad car voices on volunteers in a driving simulator.

CLIFFORD NASS (Stanford University): Those sad drivers actually drove better, felt better, enjoyed themselves more with the sad voice.

HIRSHON: On the other hand, happy drivers did much better with an upbeat voice. So Nass says that by matching drivers’ emotions, a car’s design could help them be happier, safer and more successful. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.