Journal Article
Car Pride: Psychological Structure and Behavioral Implications

Cars have symbolic significance beyond their functional purpose, and people often take pride in owning and using them. However, little is known about how this pride is constituted and how it affects travel behavior. This paper provides a conceptual framework for the psychology of car pride and investigates its behavioral implications. We define car pride as the cognitive evaluation of, and emotional response to, the positive self-representation elicited by car ideation, where car ideation refers to the ideation of owning or using a car. A three-stage cognitive evaluation process (symbolization, identity-goal relevance and identity-goal congruence) determines whether, and to what extent, car ideation has a positive effect on self-representation; if it does, positive emotional response will be elicited. Car pride is categorized as personal pride and social pride, and further disaggregated into sub-categories. Using survey data from Shanghai, we empirically measure car pride and examine its relationship with both car ownership and car use behaviors. Structural equation models reveal that (1) using instrumental variables to control for simultaneity, car ownership leads to higher car pride; (2) car pride is positively correlated with preferences for newer, more expensive, larger cars, and for Shanghai’s more expensive local car licenses; (3) car pride significantly motivates car use; and (4) car pride is positively correlated with the behavioral intention to buy a new car, choose a luxury car, and avoid car use reduction. Further analysis shows that personal pride and social pride, although highly correlated, have different effects on car-related behaviors: while personal pride correlates more strongly with car price, social pride has a slightly higher impact on car use.

Title
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationSubmitted
AuthorsZhao Z, Zhao J
Keywordscar ownership, car pride, car use, self-conscious emotion, Shanghai, structural equation model
Abstract

Cars have symbolic significance beyond their functional purpose, and people often take pride in owning and using them. However, little is known about how this pride is constituted and how it affects travel behavior. This paper provides a conceptual framework for the psychology of car pride and investigates its behavioral implications. We define car pride as the cognitive evaluation of, and emotional response to, the positive self-representation elicited by car ideation, where car ideation refers to the ideation of owning or using a car. A three-stage cognitive evaluation process (symbolization, identity-goal relevance and identity-goal congruence) determines whether, and to what extent, car ideation has a positive effect on self-representation; if it does, positive emotional response will be elicited. Car pride is categorized as personal pride and social pride, and further disaggregated into sub-categories. Using survey data from Shanghai, we empirically measure car pride and examine its relationship with both car ownership and car use behaviors. Structural equation models reveal that (1) using instrumental variables to control for simultaneity, car ownership leads to higher car pride; (2) car pride is positively correlated with preferences for newer, more expensive, larger cars, and for Shanghai’s more expensive local car licenses; (3) car pride significantly motivates car use; and (4) car pride is positively correlated with the behavioral intention to buy a new car, choose a luxury car, and avoid car use reduction. Further analysis shows that personal pride and social pride, although highly correlated, have different effects on car-related behaviors: while personal pride correlates more strongly with car price, social pride has a slightly higher impact on car use.

Short TitleCar Pride