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Through a series of cruel experiments, British scientists say they've found psychological evidence linking flashy sports cars to small penis size in men.

In a yet-to-be-peer-reviewed paper out of University College London, the researchers behind the study — evocatively titled "Small Penises and Fast Cars: Evidence for a Psychological Link" — detailed how they, in their own words, "manipulated what men believed about their own penis size" before asking them questions about luxury cars.

The experiment was deceptively simple: the researchers gave participants "false information" (read: lied to) via an online surveying platform by telling them that the average erect penis size is roughly seven inches (when in reality, most research indicates that it's between five and six inches) and then, primed with that phony statistic, asked them a series of questions pertaining to consumer habits and desires.

"We found that males, and males over 30 in particular, rated sports cars as more desirable when they were made to feel that they had a small penis," the Machiavellian researchers wrote in the study.

According to the paper, there were other versions of this veritable mindfuck of an experiment in which the British researchers "manipulated [subjects'] self-esteem in different ways," but their professed link between the self-perception of having a smaller penis and desiring to own a fancy sports car didn't play out in those.

In other words, it seems a lot as though in an attempt to show that the trope of buying expensive sports cars to overcompensate for having a small penis is "grounded in a psychological truth," these seemingly sadistic researchers ended up playing into the same kind of tired body-negative stereotypes that have for millennia made men act out over a phony sense of shame and inadequacy.

It's no Stanford prison experiment, but perhaps next time psychological researchers will think twice before pandering to one of our culture's worst lies.

More on cruel experiments: Scientist Who Gene Edited Human Babies Says Mistakes Were Made

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