We all know the difficulty in persuading people to give up their car commute for a more liberating bicycle ride. Sadly, many will give up their cars when they are pulled off in a hearse.
But do you believe the visceral connection to their cars is really hard-wired in the brain? The article The Neuroscience of Car Dependence hints there may be more to the brain wiring than we think.
...we have very fixed travel habits. The habit of car dependency, in particular, poses a major problem for sustainable cities. As transportation experts push for mobility "carrots" and "sticks" — making alternative modes more attractive while making driving less attractive — they can't forget they're also battling certain aspects of the human brain that nudge us away from considering any changes to our lives at all.The article suggests there may be ways to alter behavior. For example during crisis moments or even after major life events.The researchers cite recent research on the nature of drug habits: they're suggesting you're addicted to your car. Perhaps more intriguing is recent work on the role that stress plays in shifting cognitive function from flexible parts of the brain (in the hippocampus) to procedural ones (in the striatum). In brain imaging studies, test participants placed under stress rely more on the striatum to determine their behavior — overwhelmed by life, we revert to habit.
What do you think?