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Study: People who like loud exhaust are sadists and psychopaths

Study: People who like loud exhaust are sadists and psychopaths

  • A study profiled people who like loud exhaust systems
  • Most people who like loud exhaust systems are male
  • Fans of loud exhaust systems scored high for sadism and psychopathy

If you have a car with a loud, modified exhaust system, you might be a terrible person, according to a new study from Western University of Ontario, Canada.

First spotted by Car and Driver, the study looked at people’s attitudes toward loud vehicles. Those who enjoy loud exhaust systems tended to be male, with high scores for personality traits associated with sadism and psychopathy

Lamborghini Revuelto

Lamborghini Revuelto

Commissioned by professor Julie Aitken Schermer, who was curious about what kind of person would want a car that’s louder than normal, the study surveyed 529 business students. They were asked whether they thought loud cars are cool, whether they viewed their cars as an extension of themselves, and if they’d modify their own cars to make the exhaust louder.

Participants also took a Short Dark Tetrad personality survey, meant to measure predilection toward personality traits such as narcissism, psychopathy, and manipulativeness. While scores for narcissism were generally low, loud-pipe fans tended to score higher for psychopathy and sadism.

2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170

2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170

The study focused solely on cars, excluding motorcycles and pickup trucks. The correlations with sadism and psychopathy may have been even greater if larger vehicles had been included, as other studies have pointed to a perception of larger vehicles as being more aggressive, Schermer writes in an abstract for the study.

As Car and Driver notes, not all loud exhaust sounds are created equal. There’s a difference between enjoying the devilish exhaust note of a Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and inflicting loud noise on your neighbors in the middle of the night. That’s what programmable exhaust modes are for.


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