‘Big Brother’ eyes make us act more honestly
From the article:
"We all know the scene: the departmental coffee room, with the price list for tea and coffee on the wall and the “honesty box” where you pay for your drinks – or not, because no one is watching.
"In a finding that will have office managers everywhere scurrying for the photocopier, researchers have discovered that merely a picture of watching eyes nearly trebled the amount of money put in the box....
"... In previous experiments, people consistently appeared to behave more generously than they needed to for their own self-interest, even when told their actions were anonymous. This has led an influential school of economists to argue that altruism in humans is innate, rather than being based on cynical self-interest.
"But if just a photocopied pair of eyes can treble honesty, the Newcastle team suspects that these previous experiments may somehow have been spoiled by subliminal cues that made people feel they were being watched. "