Keeping a watchful eye over the honesty box

An interesting article in the New Scientist demonstrates that the feeling of being watched, even by a photocopy of a pair of eyes, prompts us to be more honest.

In an experiment in Newcastle University, the price lists in the coffee room about the ‘honesty box’ were surmounted on alternate weeks by a photo of flowers or a pair of eyes looking directly at the observer. In the weeks with the eyes on the list, staff paid 2.76 times as much for their drinks in the weeks with the flowers picture on top of the list.

Presumably offices will now be festooned with photocopies of watching eyes to make sure we’re all towing the line.

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3 Responses to “Keeping a watchful eye over the honesty box”

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  1. Sue says:

    So there is still money out there for research oddities like this one then – even if it might just come from the Tea Fund. Reminds me of Sheldrakes research on whether or not we know we are being stared at:
    http://www.sheldrake.org/books_tapes/staring_reviews.html
    (I’m sure there’s a tenuous link there, somewhere……)

  2. Andy says:

    I think the money for this informal little piece of research probably came from the tea fund, which may be doing very nicely with the addition of the watchful eyes.

    It’s a very long time since I’ve read anything of Rupert Sheldrake, maybe I should ‘stare’ at his website for a bit 🙂

  3. Sue says:

    Oh no……one thing leads to another…….
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/5126208.stm

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