Sexy Subways


This interesting Wired item got a lot of play a few days ago:

David Moxon subjected 40 men and women to the sounds of a Maserati, Lamborghini and Ferrari, then measured the amount of testosterone in their saliva. He found everyone had higher levels of the stuff — a measure of their arousal — after hearing the revving exotics, but the amount the women had was off the charts.

The econobox, however, left everyone colder than a January day in Nome.

This was widely reported in the spirit of Wired‘s headline: “Science Proves Exotic Cars Turn Women On.” But of course this didn’t study cars, it studied car sounds. Dave Alpert wonders:

Nature or nurture? How about playing background sounds of a Lamborghini in the subway? If subways were privately run, I suspect the operators would do just that, just like stores pipe in odors to draw out greater spending behavior.

Consider this a cousin to the public sector design issue. Private enterprise makes it its business to try to understand the ecology of civilization and how environments impact people, and smart public sector agencies will consider this kind of thing as well. When I was in Nizhny Novgorod they played Russian pop music on the buses, which I don’t recall as having been very pleasant. But why not pipe music into Metro stations? You could probably earn payola-style money. I feel like I recall some city (Rome?) where they did play music in the subway stations. Am I crazy?