Cars are rewiring our brains to ignore all the bad stuff about driving

Car traffic
Photo by AAron Ontiveroz / MediaNews Group / The Denver Post via Getty Images

Unsurprisingly, most Americans frown upon antisocial behavior. Stealing people’s stuff, bending food safety rules, or smoking in large crowds tend to generate a lot of stern reactions.

But get behind the wheel of a car, and all that disapproval tends to melt away.

That’s because a lot of us suffer from a malady called “car brain” — though Ian Walker, a professor of environmental psychology at Swansea University in Wales, prefers to call it “motornormativity.” This is the term coined by Walker and his team to describe the “cultural inability to think objectively and dispassionately” about how we use cars.

Think of it like “heteronormativity,” the idea that heterosexual couples…

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