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Ask The Expert: Why a Messy Car Makes You Unhappy


The emotional impact of the car we drive is surprisingly strong according to a new biometric study of car owners.

A dirty vehicle elicited the strongest negative emotional response by participants, but it also caused participants to feel embarrassment and disgust about themselves…feelings that can linger outside their vehicle. Additionally, dashboard warning lights caused participants to feel out of control, which can contribute to higher levels of stress and nervousness throughout the day.


When participants imagined themselves in clean, well-maintained vehicles more than half reported feeling comfort and happiness.



Dr. Michelle Niedziela, PhD is a behavioral neuroscience expert in neuropsychology, psychology and consumer science, and she joined me to share more.





Dr. Michelle Niedziela, PhD

Behavioral Neuroscience Expert and VP of Research and Innovation at HCD Research


Michelle Murphy Niedziela (PhD) is a behavioral neuroscience expert in neuropsychology, psychology and consumer science, experienced in both academics and industry. Michelle obtained a PhD and Master’s in behavioral neuroscience and behavioral neurogenetics from Purdue University’s IBRC (Ingestive Behavior Research Institute) program and a BS in psychology and neuroscience from Florida State University. Michelle began her career as a post-doctoral fellow at Monell Chemical Senses Center working on industry sponsored research of functional ingredients. She continued her career at Johnson & Johnson as technical lead for the Behavioral Science Innovation programs. At Mars Chocolate, Michelle worked on global sensory projects and ingredient sourcing. Currently VP of Research & Innovation at HCD Research, Michelle now focuses on integrating applied consumer neuroscience tools with traditional market and consumer research methods used to measure consumer response.


Wife. Mom. Believer. Writer. Advocate.

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