miércoles, 27 de mayo de 2009

Hidden Messages: Turns Out Road Rage Display Behavior Is Misunderstood!

Came across this piece by my very talented friend, David Roland, and thought I'd share it here, where it might do some of my readers some good.

Road Rage Display Behavior Finally Explained

by David Roland

While we think we know what the underlying messages that aggressive drivers are displaying, two researchers at the California College of Business Synergy in Berkeley have uncovered the actual meanings of the gestures and other non-verbal communications that angry drivers display.

The two young scientists took life and limb into their own hands during the 26-week study, by interviewing drivers displaying road rage just after each of those drivers was involved in an aggressive incident.

Thomas Hodgkins and Cecily Blazold spent major portions of each day driving around, encountering various forms of road rage behavior, attempting to interview the subjects displaying road rage behaviors, then analyzing their data according to the latest theories and discoveries in psychoanalysis. For six long months, they gave up all vestige of a social life to spend time driving around the Bay Area. (The study would have been conducted more quickly, except that they were involved in three separate accidents with drivers who accidentally ran them off the road while they were endeavoring to commence the interviews.)

All the work done by the intrepid young researchers was videotaped for later study, and the tapes catalogued for various behavior types and situations. In the safety of their lab, it is quite entertaining to witness these incidents on tape and to hear the remarks made by seemingly enraged drivers. “But you can’t really rely on their verbal communications to give you a true picture,” says Hodgkins. “It’s very much like people being interviewed about their significant others, in the presence of their significant others – there’s a lot going on under the surface, and people’s protective mechanisms just click into place.”

“That’s why we spent so much time conducting interviews,” continues Blazold. “You have to get the subject away from any reminder of the emotions, in order to get them to address their true feelings.”

Below are several examples of the actual translations these brave young scientists were able to parse from the thousands of gestures, gesticulations and other non-verbal clues they studies on the hundreds of hours of tapes they made during the study.

Middle finger of either hand, raised: “I have registered your disapproval and I agree that my actions are the direct cause of your annoyance. At some point when we have more time, we should discuss the matter in depth.”

Incessant honking of horn: “I find your current driving behavior distracting and potentially dangerous, and I fervently hope that you will take this admonition to heart and drive with more consideration in the future. Do have a nice day!”

Fist extended out of window, shaking back and forth: “I understand your consternation, but wish to point out that it is a big world and there are a lot of us in it, so you may have to make some adjustments in your expectations. I certainly hope things improve for you today!”

Aggressive Tailgating: “I would really rather that you use public transportation, as I feel you have become a menace to the safety of all concerned citizens. How about rethinking your position on carpooling and taking the bus?”

Aggressive Tailgating while flashing brights: “While I understand that one or more of your parents was born in an undeveloped country and that you are doing the best that you can behind the wheel of that car, still I must take that particular maneuver as an insult to all intelligent drivers, and ask that you forbear from making it in the future. I can recommend a good driving school that will make your life much easier and your time on the road much safer.”

Swerving next to car as if to run your vehicle off the road: “This is all very bothersome to me, and I am feeling especially vulnerable today, so please excuse my rudeness – I will no doubt feel much better after I’ve kicked my dog a few times. Perhaps in the future we can explore these feelings in a quiet atmosphere.”

These are only a few of the translations of signs given other drivers – signs that are often misunderstood and assumed to be aggressive or at least negative behavior. “All drivers should be aware that what they see is not always what the other driver is experiencing,” says Blazold, “and it probably would serve them to take into account that various signs and gestures may have different meanings to others.”

David Roland is a humorist who likes to make people wince as they are laughing - a rare trick. He is Hakim's close friend, and people who see them together should think carefully about the negative ramifications of calling them 'the two Daves.'

David Hakim is an assistant director, producer, and publicity expert who developed campaigns for every major Hollywood studio and handled publicity for the Motion Picture Academy. Find him in the Reel Directory online: www.reeldirectory.com.

All material copyright 2008 David Roland and may not be duplicated - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.