Sanjeev Varshney, a marketing faculty member of XLRI, at the behavioural marketing research lab in Jamshedpur on Monday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
For XLRI, thrills on wheels for teenagers are all in the mind, which needs some urgent and hi-tech probing.
Young drivers swerving through busy roads, speeding and honking incessantly and cutting through fellow motorists are attitude problems.
Changing them will prevent accidents, hope the experts. Close on the heels of the tragic death of Mohammad Ayazuddin, former Indian skipper Mohammad Azharuddin’s son, who speed-crashed on an imported bike and more than a month after two teenagers were crushed to death in Ranchi, XLRI decided to map the brain of youngsters to understand the deadly thrills of speed.
The research lab of the premier B-school of the country, inaugurated on September 17, will undertake the study on drivers between the ages of 16 and 25 years to try and find a comprehensive solution that can be later used for social campaigns.
“We hope that the study brings about a change in teen attitudes with respect to behavioural and emotional aspects when they take to the wheel,” said Sanjeev Varshney, an XLRI marketing department faculty member.
He added there had been a surge of the number of road mishaps — most involving youngsters — in the recent past.
“We are very interested in trying to find out the lure of speed as far as schoolchildren and teenagers, who are most prone to rash driving, are concerned,” Varshney said.
Varshney, also the brains behind behavioural marketing research lab, expressed hope that research would help reduce the number of accidents.
“Youths need to change mindsets in order to undergo behavioural change. Thus, armed with the research results, we will definitely create social campaigns against speed,” Varshney said.
According to initial plans, the group of students selected for research will have to undergo a written test to help researchers peep into driving attitudes.
The respondents will participate in a group discussion in front of cameras. To know cognitive and emotional responses better, the target group will also play video games, wherein their behaviour will be measured directly by a direct response time machine. XLRI also plans to collaborate with the district administration to make the research a joint effort between the B-school and East Singhbhum traffic department.
Welcoming the move, traffic DSP J.N. Singh said the administration would support any research XLRI undertook to help curb mishap casualty.
Can XLRI’s findings permanently help change teenage speeding?