My Driving Personality Makeover Project

 By Ikue Fukushima

 

Instructions For The Report 2

 

1. Preface

 

My previous research, Report 1, discusses problems of road rage that cause millions of death in today's society.  In order to find out the causes of road rage, Report 1 explored the concepts of driving psychology by introducing several important definitions such as Driver's Threefold Self, Self-Witnessing Methodology, and Driver's Emotional Intelligence.  With the understanding of these definitions, Report 2 builds upon these ideas by examining how road rage happens in this society.  With the knowledge of these definitions, Report 1 also analyzes the driving attitude of my behavior through the concept of culture, traits, and parental roles.  In the conclusion of Report 1, I summarized that I am a supportive driver who is not yet competent in my driving skills.  By studying the concept of Driving Psychology, I became more aware of the causes of road rage that can lead to death and realized the importance of spreading the idea of becoming supportive drivers in this society.  Ikue's Report 1

 

 The purpose of Report 1 was to make readers and myself more aware of Driving Psychology and the causes for the road rage.   With the advanced knowledge of Driving Psychology, the purpose of Report 2 is to actually engage in several experiments to improve the attitude for the aggressive drivers.  As each student engages in different experiments to modify and improve their aggressive behavior, Dr. James and his students can eventually discover the most effective ways to correct the aggressive driving behavior, which will hopefully lead to a safer driving society where car accidents will be virtually nonexistent. 

 

2. Introduction: Objective Self-Assessment

 

Since I do not have a Driver's license, or a permit, I decided to do an experiment on my boyfriend.  I believe he is the right person for this experiment because he shows various attitudes of aggressive driving behaviors.  For this reason, I decided to assess his driving behavior instead of myself.  I first let him take various tests and various questionnaires found in the Road Rage and Aggressive Driving, the textbook written by Dr. Leon James & Dr. Diane Nahl in 2000.  Second, I analyzed his various aspects of his Threefold Self as a driver.  Third, I examined the diagnoses and personality of him as a driver.  Lastly, I described the styles of thinking and feeling that characterized his driving personality.

 

The first test my boyfriend took was on page 40 to page 41 on the textbook.  These tests assess his road rage tendency.  There are 20 YES/NO questions that indicate the tendency of road rage.  According to this road rage tendency test, scoring less than 5 out of 20 indicates that the person is not an aggressive driver and his road rage tendency is manageable.  Score between 5 and 10 out of 20 indicates that he has moderate road rage habits.  If his score is greater than 10 out of 20, his road rage tendency is out of control.

In this test my boyfriend scored an 8, which shows that he has moderate road rage habits. 

Here are the statements he circled "YES." 

 

1. I swear a lot more in traffic than I do elsewhere.

5. When drivers do something really "stupid" that endangers my car, or me I get furious, even aggressive.

6. It's good to get your anger out because we all have aggressive feelings inside that naturally come out under stressful situations.

10. Pushy drivers really annoy me so I bad-mouth them to feel better.

11. I tailgate when someone drives too slowly for conditions or in the passing lane.

12. I try to get to my destination in the shortest time possible, or else it doesn't feet right. 

14. I feel unpleasant emotions when someone beats me to the light or when someone gets through and I'm stuck on red.

19. Sometimes I feel that I'm holding up traffic so I start driving faster than feels comfortable.   

 

The second test he took measures his aggressive thoughts and feelings on page 65-66.  This test is divided into three sections that are compiled of Driving Area #1 (Fantasies of Retaliation and Revenge), Driving Area #2 (High Pressure Driving and Competition) and Driving Area #3 (Impulsive Reckless driving).  There are 27 statements in total and he agreed with 11 statements that he thinks he engages in.  Here are the statements that he agreed with.

 

Driving Area #1:  Fantasies of Retaliation and Revenge

2. When I encounter road-hugging pedestrians, I feel like pushing them out of my way.

3. When drivers become aggressive by tailgating me, I enjoy slowing down to pay them back.

5. I don't think passengers should tell me how to drive and I let them know if they try.

10. I feel like ramming them to smarten them up about doing dangerous things while they should be paying attention to the road.

 

Driving Area #2:  High Pressure Driving and Competition

13. When a car gets in my way I don't like it and I try to get around it even if it means taking some risks.

14. In heavy traffic I feel a constant desire to weave across lanes trying to get ahead.

16. When I'm late, I have no patience and tailgate slower motorists in my way.

19. I don't have respect for drivers who forget to turn their blinkers on or off.

 

Driving Area #3: Impulsive and Reckless Driving

23. When I'm in a rush and upset I cut in front of cars and rush through yellow lights.

24. If I had a few drinks but feel all right, I take a chance and drive home anyway.

25. When I am tired I become less alert, but I still need to drive.  I have no choice. 

 

On the third test he took, he had to list his good driving traits and bad driving traits.  After that, his passenger, who is myself, listed things that I think he is good at and bad at as a driver.  This test will assess how much he is aware of his driving style and the weak points and strong points of his driving behavior.

 

His Best Driving Traits According to Himself

1. Safe

2. Good sense of the road

3. Parking

4. Anticipating other drivers

 

His Worst Driving Traits According to Himself

1. Impatient

2. Speeds

3. Verbal abuse

 

His Best Driving traits According to His Passenger (Me)

1. Good driving skills

2. Good timing

3. Good decision making

 

His Worst Driving Traits According to His Passenger (Me)

1. Swears a lot

2. Racist (Example: Calling "Japs" to tourists in Waikiki when they are crossing road)

3. Impatient

4. Does not listen to my advice

5. Does not follow the driving laws (Take U-turns where he is not supposed to)

 

Lastly, I measured his Threefold self by giving him the test on page 141 to 143 on the textbook.  This test is divided into three sections, which are compiled of Witnessing Your Emotions, Witnessing Your Thought, and Witnessing Your Actions. 

In the first section (Witnessing Your Emotions), he scored 6 out of 16.  Here are the statements that he checked.

 

Witnessing Your Emotions

1. Getting angry when forced to brake by another motorist.

3. Feeling hostile when your progress is impeded by congestion.

4. Being suspicious when a driver doesn't let you change lanes.

6.  Enjoying thoughts of revenge and torture.

10. Enjoying stereotyping and ridiculing certain drivers.

13. Being pleased when getting away with breaking traffic laws.

 

In the second section (Witnessing Your Thought), he scored 4 out 16.  Here are some thoughts that he engages in while he is driving.

 

Witnessing Your Thoughts

2. Thinking that it's up to you to choose which stop signs should be obeyed.

3. Thinking that there is no need for speed limits.

7.  Thinking that some drivers are fools, airheads, rejects, and so on.

12. Believing that pedestrians shouldn't have the right of way when jaywalking.

 

The third section measures his aggressive actions.  Here he only scored 1 out of 23, which indicates he is almost competent in his action-self.

 

Witnessing Your Actions

2. Lane hopping to get ahead rather than going with the flow.

 

Now that he has completed all the questions regarding his aggressive driving behavior, I can analyze his result through measuring his Threefold Self.  As I explained in Report 1, the driver has a Threefold Self consisting of the Affective self, Cognitive Self, and Sensorimotor self.  Affective self is his emotions, feelings, and motivation.  Cognitive self is his decision-making ability.  It is what he thinks he should do as a driver.  Lastly, his Sensorimotor self describes his action ability, such as stopping at the red light, and signaling as he drives to the next lane.  It is believed that a person will be an excellent supportive driver when he becomes competent in these threefold selves. 

 

By examining his threefold self I can see what part of the threefold self he still needs to work on.  By looking at the result of these threefold test on page 141, the reader can see that he is almost competent in his sensorimotor self where he scored only 1 out of 23.  The only part of his action that needs work is his lane hopping behavior.  Because he barely has any trouble with his sensorimotor self, I decided to focus his training more on his affective and cognitive self. 

 

The result of his affective ability (witnessing his emotions) shows that he has many things he needs to work on for his affective self.  For example, he enjoys thought of revenge and torture and is pleased when getting away with breaking traffic laws.  This kind of emotion indicates he is more likely to show anger whenever things are not going well on the road.  This is bad because his anger will impair his cognitive judgment, which will lead to road rage such as yelling or honking at the passenger. 

 

Another aspect he needs to work on is his cognitive ability (witnessing his thoughts).  On the cognitive ability test, he scored 4 out of 16, which indicates a mild deficiency in thinking of road events positively.  For example, he thinks some drivers are fools, airheads and rejects, which shows his tendency to blame others when things are not going well for him.  This also indicates that he is more likely to think negatively which will show his disrespect for society.  His disrespect will lead to an aggressive driving tendency.  Somehow, he needs to change his negative thinking into positive thinking that will lead to more supportive driving style. 

 

Now that I know where his weakness is in the threefold selves, I examined the diagnoses and personality of him as a driver.  From watching the results of several tests he took, I concluded him to be an oppositional driver who engages in verbal road rage.  He shows many oppositional drivers' traits because he shows almost no sympathy toward other drivers whatsoever.  Whenever he sees "stupid" drivers, he gets furious and swears (page 40 on Road Rage and Aggressive Driving).  He engages in verbal road rage because it seems like he won't do anything physically to other drivers.  However, he swears and complains many times when he sees "stupid" drivers.  For example, as the result in page 65 of the textbook shows, he does not have respect for drivers who forget to turn their blinkers on or off.  On the test on page 134, he even wrote his worst driving trait is verbal abuse. 

 

This also shows that he is an impatient driver who gets angry whenever things do not go as he wishes.  He really needs to work on becoming patient because there are more instances when things are not going well than times when things are going well on the road.  If he keeps getting frustrated at every single incidence, his blood pressure goes up quickly and die early due to the heart attack.

 

Lastly, I would like to describe the styles of thinking and feelings that characterized his driving personality.  As I said earlier, his styles of thinking and feelings are very negative and he has a tendency to blame others.  Here are several things that describe him as a negative oppositional thinker on the road:

 

1. When he sees Japanese tourists walking slowly across the road in front of him, he swears at them, saying "Fucking Japs! Get the fuck out of my way." 

2. When drivers become aggressive by tailgating him, he enjoys slowing down to pay them back.

3. He becomes suspicious when a driver does not let him change lanes.

4. He believes that pedestrians should not have the right of way when jaywalking.

 

As you can see from the lists above, he tends to blame on others, becomes very impatient when things are not going well for him, and ends up swearing a lot.  However, he is still competent in driving safely if I observe his driving skills.  Therefore I am going to focus on modifying his Affective and Cognitive self-thinking styles on my experiment. 

 

3. My Driver Self-Modification Attempt

 

(a) Design of My Experiment

 

Since the test results show that my boyfriend needs to work on his affective and cognitive self, my goal of this experiment will be to modify his negative emotion and thinking attitude.  In order to find an effective method to improve his attitude, I first looked at several reports from earlier generations.  Here are some earlier generation student's websites that I found good ideas from.

 

1. Alan Fukunaga His self-modification method involves recording his voice while driving. After he gets home, he listens to the recorder and reviews his negative words that came out by writing them down on the left side.  On the right side, he writes statements that disprove his idea.  For example, if he writes on the left side, "the car cuts me in front of me on purpose.  I am pissed off!"  He writes on the right side, "Maybe he was late to his important meeting, therefore he was not intentional."  He also suggests playing slow calm music such as love songs while driving.  He says the mellow music and tape recorder makes him more aware of his road rage and helps to control his temper.  By trying this method, he gradually became able to disengage from his emotions while driving.

 

2. Bryan Racoco His self-modification method involves identifying his "resistance to change" behavior.  According to him, the more you have "resistance to change," the harder it is to change your behavior.  Therefore, it is important first to have a strong motivation for wanting to change aggressive behavior.  He also suggests targeting specific personality behaviors instead of trying to change everything at one.  For example, he focused only on changing his swearing habits.  Because it's hard to observe him when he is angry, he also asked his passenger to warn him when he swears at other cars or people. 

 

As I said earlier I believe my boyfriend needs to work on his affective and cognitive self.  He is especially not good at controlling his temper.  When he loses his control on the road, he complains and swears at other drivers and pedestrians.  I specifically would like to focus on modifying his swearing behavior.  In order to modify his attitude, there are two methods I came up with.  I will call the first one "cognitive writing assignment."  Second one is "road rage punishment."

 

The first one, "cognitive writing" involves recording his voice when he swears while driving and then listening it after he gets home.  Just like the method from Fukunaga, he will write down on the left side exactly what he said and felt in the car by listening to the recorder.  Next, he will write down the statement on the left side that will disprove what he wrote on the right side. 

 

The second one, "road rage punishment" is created by myself.  In this method, I first put a rubber band around his wrist before he gets into his car.  Next, I will snap it whenever he swears or complain at other drivers or pedestrians.  This will be good distraction for him to disengage from emotional events. 

 

I decided to compare which method is most effective in modifying his behavior.   I decided to have 12 sessions where I do not do any experiment for one day and then do experiments for two days.  I will keep repeating this procedure so I will know if the method is working effectively or not.  Here are the experimental session plans that he is going to go through. 

 

Cognitive writing session

February

Experiment?

21

baseline(no experiment)

22

tape recording and writing

23

tape recording and writing

24

baseline(no experiment)

25

tape recording and writing

26

tape recording and writing

27

baseline(no experiment)

28

tape recording and writing

29

tape recording and writing

March

 

1

tape recording and writing

2

tape recording and writing

3

tape recording and writing

 

Road Rage Punishment Session

March

Experiment?

4

baseline(no experiment)

5

rubber band snapping

6

rubber band snapping

7

baseline(no experiment)

8

rubber band snapping

9

rubber band snapping

10

baseline(no experiment)

11

rubber band snapping

12

rubber band snapping

13

baseline(no experiment)

14

rubber band snapping

15

rubber band snapping

 

 

(b) Data Tables

 

In this experiment, I will measure the effectiveness of this experiment by simply counting the number of times my boyfriend loses control during his rage situations.  Rage situations are events that make my boyfriend angry.  For example, people jaywalking slowly, someone cutting in front of him, slow drivers, and/or people who do not signal  are all considered situations that makes him angry.   Then, I will divide the number of times he swears or complains by the number of rage situation.  This decimal number will be my measurements for the experiment's effectiveness.  For example, if he swears 10 times when there are 25 rage situations, it will be 0.4. This means his tendency to swear on the road is 40%.

 

The Result of the Cognitive Writing Session

(each session is approximately one hour)

 

February

Experiment?

# swear

# situation

#swear/#situation

%

21

No (baseline)

11

11

11/11

100.0

22

Yes (intervene)

12

11

12/11

109.0

23

Y

10

12

10/12

83.0

24

N

10

11

10/11

90.0

25

Y

9

12

9/12

75.0

26

Y

10

15

10/15

66.7

27

N

8

9

8/9

88.0

28

Y

7

13

7/13

53.8

29

Y

6

14

6/14

42.9

March

 

 

 

 

 

1

N

11

13

11/13

84.6

2

Y

5

12

5/12

41.7

3

Y

5

15

5/15

33.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average % of baseline

90.7

 

 

 

 

Average % of experiment

63.1

 

 

 

 

Average % of total

72.3

 

Here are the writing assignments that he did after he listened to his voice from the tape recorder.  Since his notes were quite extensive, I decided to choose several samples from his notebook.

 

Feb. 22

His Feeling: Holly shit! The driver is stupid! Who follows the speed limit of 25 anyway?

Antidote:  Maybe I am the one who is wrong.  I should give him credit for following the speed limit.

 

Feb. 26

His feeling: Get the fuck out of my way Japs!  I wanna smash them into pieces!

Antidote: When I think about it, they had the right of way, because they were crossing the crossroad. 

 

March. 2

His feeling:  Why they fuck did he honk at me?  I did not do anything! (honks back)

Antidote: I was stupid to even try to compete with him in the beginning.  I should have ignored him and drove away.  Maybe he had to use the bathroom. 

 

The Result of the Road Rage Punishment Session

(each session is approximately one hour)

 

March

Experiment?

# swear

# situation

#swear/#situation

%

8

N

7

10

7/10

70.0

9

Y

8

8

8/8

100.0

10

Y

12

13

12/13

92.3

11

N

11

11

11/11

11.0

12

Y

7

12

7/12

58.3

13

Y

8

12

8/12

66.0

14

N

10

11

10/11

91.0

15

Y

7

11

7/11

63.6

16

Y

4

8

4/8

50.0

17

N

7

10

7/10

70.0

18

Y

6

13

6/13

46.2

19

Y

8

17

8/17

47.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average % of baseline

82.8

 

 

 

 

Average % of experiment

65.4

 

 

 

 

Average % of total

87.2

 

(c) Analysis and Discussion

As the table indicates, it seems that the percentage of times my boyfriend gradually decreased as he did the cognitive assignment.  However, it did not seem to show improvement until after the 5th session.  I believe this happened because he first did not really believe this experiment would help his road rage.  However, the results of the 12 sessions do show his improvement in his habit.  In the first session, his score was 100% and his score decreased by more than half, which is 33%.  This shows that the writing assignments are quite effective in changing his behavior.  The effectiveness of the writing assignment can be also seen from the difference of the number between the baseline and experiment session.  You can see that the average number of the baseline percentage is 90.65% while the average for the experiment is 63.14%.  This indicates that the writing assignment did help him to calm down during angry driving situations.

 

The positive aspect of the writing experiment was he enjoyed listening to the tape recorder.  He laughed and was shocked when he heard himself swearing at the old ladies, slow cars and tourists.  As I wrote in Report 1, a Self-witnessing methodology can help the person to observe and self-monitor himself to bring change in his attitude toward driving. By writing his feeling, he also became more aware of his aggressive attitude.   The negative part of this experiment was that he became lazy and didn't want to write his feelings down.  There are times where I almost forgot to bring the tape recorder.  It did become troublesome to bring a tape recorder every time he went driving. 

 

As the table of the Road Punishment Results indicates, the rubber band experiment was not as effective as the writing assignment that he did although it did reduce the number of times he swore.  As the number indicates, his swearing rate reduced from 70% in March 8 to 47% in March 9.  The reader can also see that the average percentage of baseline, 82.75% is bigger than the average percentage of the experiment, 65.43%.  However, compared to the difference in writing assignments, the improvement is only a little smaller.

 

One of the positive things about the rubber band experiment is that it is very easy to do.  The driver does not have to write or record anything.  All you need is rubber band around his wrist to just snap it when he swears.  However, there are negative parts in this experiment.  Snapping the rubber band can also induce more anger.  For example, when I first snapped his rubber band, it hurt him and made him angrier.  This is why his swearing rate on March 9 was 100%.  Instead of trying to calm himself down, he started to swear at me by saying, "fuck! It hurts!"  Then he transferred his anger to the innocent pedestrians and drivers.  However, as I did it to him more, he slowly reduced the number of times he swore.

 

The results of these experiments show he is almost becoming competent in all threefold self (term from Report 1).  He is getting better at controlling his affective and cognitive self.  As I explained in Report 1, his Emotional Spin cycle is gradually spinning more positively by viewing other drivers positively and creating more positive feelings. 

 

(d) Conclusion and Future Plans

 

The results of this experiments indicates three things.  Number one, I found engaging my boyfriend into each experiment is better than not conducting any experiment.  Second, writing exercise seem to be more effective than giving him punishment such as the snapping of the rubber band.  Thirdly, modifying a person's behavior does not happen immediately, but takes a long time.

 

In order to improve my boyfriend, I realized I have to conduct long experiments because effective results will show up gradually as many day passes.  Although I did reduce the number of times he swears, it does not mean he does not wear at all.  I believe it is important to continue my experiment on him.  In order to improve his aggressive behavior, I also would like to combine these two experiments while playing classical music.  The reason why I could not do a combined experiment was because I felt I did not have enough time to do everything.  If I have more time next time I would like to maximize the effectiveness of my experiment by conducting that kind of research.  I am very serious in conducting the combined experiment in the future because I am desperate in changing my boyfriend's aggressive driving behavior.  I am always irritated when he swears at innocent people.  I want him to be a more calm person who can control his temper. 

 

4. Conclusion

 

This assignment helped my boyfriend to identify his aggressive driving style and selfish philosophy.  Now that he has some experiences with my experiments, he did say he became very aware of his aggressive driving behavior.  He also realized how rude he was when he listened to himself on the tape recorder.  He is now more aware of strong and weak points of his driving skills and knows that his driving style is oppositional and needs to work towards the supportive driving level.  He also realizes his philosophy in driving is very selfish because he only focuses on benefits for himself.  He realized that he tends put the blame on other people even when it is his fault.

 

Because he learned many things from this experiment, I believe it is very useful for him in modifying his behavior.  In the beginning of the semester, he was making fun of the Driving Psychology Class, however, he became more interested after I did the experiment on him.  It was educational for him to see the change in himself.  My boyfriend realized it feels good when he does not have to get angry at every little situation while he is driving which he hopes can also help him in other aspects of everyday life such as getting impatient.

 

5. Future Generations

 

For the students who will take the Driving Psychology class after me, I would recommend you to take this class, especially if you are an aggressive driver because doing the experiments really help you improve your driving ability.  You can also be more aware of the concepts behind driving psychology, which will help you to become a more supportive driver.  I also want you to spread the idea of driving psychology to other people, so that eventually this society will be filled with supportive drivers where road rage will be minimal.

 

Besides the concept of driving psychology, this class is fun to take.  I really enjoy the class discussions every Monday because I can gather information and funny stories that I have never heard.  Giving presentations also helps you to become a better presenter in the future.  You can also learn to make websites, which I did not know at all before. This is not only a great theoretical class, but also one that can be applied practically. 

 

Ikue's Homepage    Class Homepage