28 June 2006
Forget about installing closed-circuit surveillance cameras – a simple, low cost defense against thieves and freeloaders may be a photocopy of a pair of eyes, Researchers into behavior at the University of Newcastle, northeastern England, conducted a sly experiment on their colleagues.
The leisure area in the university’s psychology department had an ‘honesty box’ in which academics were asked to pay for using tea, coffee and milk.
Over 10 weeks, the researchers placed a sign on the door of the cupboard where the honesty box was located and situated above the kettle and coffeemaker. Pictures of flowers alternated weekly with pictures of eyes – male or female, with expressions that ranged from alert and watchful to manic. Every week, the money collected in the honesty box was totted up.
On weeks when the ‘eyes’ image was shown takings were 276 % more than during the ‘flower’ weeks. Why were the eyes so effective?
Shame, is the answer.
Humans are ‘strongly attuned’ to subconscious cues about behavior that could damage their reputation, the study suggest.
Great!!!! Now I know what to put on my ‘mini bakala cupboard’ in the office 😀 Problem solved 😛