Q. What is it about the brains of people who sell cars? I hate the games, and negotiations, and being treated like I don't even have a brain simply because I'm female! If only I could purchase a car without having to deal with a salesperson! What do you do?

A. Your questions certainly point to the stereotype of the typical car salesperson. Not all of them match that stereotype, but they often get painted with the same brush. (You know the drill. Human beings have a stressful experience with an individual or even with several individuals and then tend to generalize about everyone else in the same category.)

What about the brains of people who sell cars? There isn't a simple, one-sentence answer to your question.

First, their brains are likely very different from yours (or you wouldn't experience so much discomfort around them and, I take it, you've not chosen a career in car sales). That's not bad. It is different, unlike. Those differences can become further magnified in situations that require the use of functions that are energy-intensive for our brains.

It's been helpful for me to understand that the type of brain that likes to sell, negotiate, and bargain is often highly or extremely extroverted. Brains that fall at the opposite end of the Extroversion-Introversion Continuum aren't interested in expending the energy required to play "games," to negotiate, or to bargain. The highly or extremely introverted brain can find such interactions quite exhausting. They may even perceive those types of situations as loaded with "conflict" and go to great lengths to avoid them.

The relative amounts of amplification or reduction of incoming stimuli have to be considered, too. This means that if your brain is extremely introverted, all incoming sensory stimuli can become amplified (louder, brighter, busier, more colorful) on the way through the Reticular Activating System (RAS) in the brain stem. This overload of stimuli, occurring in an already tense or stressful situation, can simply be too much for your brain to handle. It begins to withdraw and/or wants to procrastinate putting itself in a similar environment in the future.

The opposite may be happening in the brain of the car salesperson. If that brain is extremely extroverted, incoming sensory stimuli can be reduced (softer, slower, less busy, less colorful) on the way through the RAS. This brain is not overwhelmed by stimuli. In fact, it may be craving more stimulation (e.g., let's work on two potential deals at the same time and run back and forth between the prospective customers). This type of brain enjoys bargaining and negotiating. The more the merrier!

You also need you to factor brain-gender differences into the equation, because many car salespersons are male. The typical male brain is very goal oriented. Therefore, males in car sales usually have a definite goal in mind: to sell as many vehicles as possible in the shortest amount of time and for the best price negotiable. Depending on the individual's thinking process preference, the salesperson can single-mindedly pursue a sale. It can become a combination goal-game-competition. Can he "win" a sale and come out on top? Yes!

This is often completely opposite from the typical female brain that is more collegial and not as single-minded in terms of setting and pursing goals. The quality of the experience on the way to the goal can be equally important to reaching the goal. Unfortunately, the quality of past experiences for some women who are in the market for a vehicle has been pretty abysmal.

And finally, there are other factors that can impact the situation ranging from family-of-origin issues to levels of self-esteem. Salespersons who are insecure or who have been conditioned to believe that "male is better, or smarter, or more competent, or more logical" (you name it) may give out verbal and nonverbal (spoken and unspoken) messages to that effect. Some women have taken along a male partner or friend, if he could be talked into a "shopping expedition," to deal with the salesperson. That often works well. It does mean more schedules to coordinate!

What do I do? Recently I discovered that Enterprise Rental Cars has a car sales division. According to the agent I spoke with, one of the reasons for this sales division is to avoid the stereotypical bargaining, negotiating, game-playing situation that most females, and some males, dislike intensely. I decided to check it out. Unequivocally, the purchase of my "pre-owned car" was the least stressful, easiest, and most satisfactory experience of that type I have ever had. Chuck, Richard, and Ben were great to deal with. There are options out there... find one that works for your brain!