Ford Study Finds That Driving a Sports Car Is More Enjoyable Than Kissing

Ditch that romantic partner and buy yourself a performance car, because it could make you happier in life, according to Ford. 

Ford has conducted a new study to measure enjoyment of different activities, and found that driving a performance car ranks high on the list of things that will make you happy during daily life. 

This study pitted driving against seven other tasks that generally make people feel good, including kissing, fine dining, watching football, watching Game of Thrones, shopping, Salsa dancing, and riding a roller coaster. 

Neuroscientists hooked volunteers up to medical equipment that measured such physiological reactions as heart rate and galvanic skin response, and then combined those reactions into something called  a "buzz moment." A buzz moment occurred when a person was the most thrilled during an activity and became happier because of that moment. 

The study found that riding a rollercoaster produced the most buzz moments with an average of three per participant, followed by driving with 2.1. Shopping barely beat out watching sports and Game of Thrones, and kissing, dining, and Salsa dancing generated zero buzz moments. 

Ford

While rollercoasters may make you the happiest, Ford argues that driving wins here because rollercoasters don't contribute to daily enjoyment. Few people go to a theme park every day, so they'll experience these buzz moments far less frequently. 

"This study shows how driving a performance car does much more than get you from A to B. It could be a valuable part of your daily wellbeing routine," says psychologist Dr. Harry Witchel. 

Ford went the extra mile to test how drivers respond to performance cars by equipping a Focus RS with sensors to detect and illustrate volunteers' emotions while driving.  Affectionately called the Ford Performance Buzz Car, this Focus featured 200,000 LEDs and 82 display panels hooked up to a powerful gaming PC. When a driver exhibited certain emotions, the car's exterior would light up and animate the reaction. 

This study wasn't just conducted to confirm something car enthusiasts already know. Ford is also using it to research ways to detect dangerous emotions like fatigue and stress, and have the car take control if need be. The Focus RS buzz car is just the first step researchers are taking to develop driver-assist systems to prevent crashes caused by distracted driving