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How and why do men and women differ in their willingness to use automated cars? The influence of emotions across different age groups

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  • Hohenberger, Christoph
  • Spörrle, Matthias
  • Welpe, Isabell M.

Abstract

Current research on willingness to use automated cars indicates differences between men and women, with the latter group showing lower usage intentions. This study aims at providing a first explanation of this effect. Research from other fields suggests that affective reactions might be able to explain behavioral intentions and responses towards technology, and that these affects vary depending on age levels. By examining a sample of 1603 participants representative for Germany (in terms of biological sex, age, and education) we found evidence that affective responses towards automotive cars (i.e., anxiety and pleasure) explain (i.e., mediate) the effect of biological sex on willingness to use them. Moreover, we found that these emotional processes vary as a function of respondent age in such a way that the differential effect of sex on anxiety (but not on pleasure) was more pronounced among relatively young respondents and decreased with participants’ age. Our results suggest that addressing anxiety-related responses towards automated cars (e.g., by providing safety-related information) and accentuating especially the pleasurable effects of automated cars (e.g., via advertising) reduce differences between men and women. Addressing the anxiety-related effects in order to reduce sex differences in usage intentions seems to be less relevant for older target groups, whereas promoting the pleasurable responses is equally important across age groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Hohenberger, Christoph & Spörrle, Matthias & Welpe, Isabell M., 2016. "How and why do men and women differ in their willingness to use automated cars? The influence of emotions across different age groups," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 374-385.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:94:y:2016:i:c:p:374-385
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2016.09.022
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Plötz, Patrick & Schneider, Uta & Globisch, Joachim & Dütschke, Elisabeth, 2014. "Who will buy electric vehicles? Identifying early adopters in Germany," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 96-109.
    2. Fagnant, Daniel J. & Kockelman, Kara, 2015. "Preparing a nation for autonomous vehicles: opportunities, barriers and policy recommendations," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 167-181.
    3. Wadud, Zia & MacKenzie, Don & Leiby, Paul, 2016. "Help or hindrance? The travel, energy and carbon impacts of highly automated vehicles," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 1-18.
    4. Steg, Linda, 2005. "Car use: lust and must. Instrumental, symbolic and affective motives for car use," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(2-3), pages 147-162.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hohenberger, Christoph & Spörrle, Matthias & Welpe, Isabell M., 2017. "Not fearless, but self-enhanced: The effects of anxiety on the willingness to use autonomous cars depend on individual levels of self-enhancement," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 40-52.

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