Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

?Big Brother eyes? research inspire police

A Newcastle University experiment which made people act more honestly has inspired a police campaign.

The experiment found that people put nearly three times as much money into a unsupervised coffee room cash box when they were being watched by a pair of eyes on a poster. On average, people paid as much as 2.76 times more for their drinks on the weeks when the price list featured pictures of eyes. The researchers say the eye pictures are probably influential because the brain naturally reacts to the images.

Now West Midlands Police are using the idea on promotional posters, which feature a distinctive picture of eyes carrying the message ‘We’re keeping an eye on criminals’. Chief Inspector Sue Southern, Head of the Press and PR Department at West Midlands Police, said: “We have been inspired by Dr Bateson’s research and liked the idea that eyes peering down at thieves in crime hot spots could intimidate them into moving on rather than committing crime.”

Dr Bateson, of the Evolution and Behaviour Research Group in the School of Biology and Psychology at Newcastle University, said: “We’re thrilled to see our research being used to prevent crime in the real world. “We did the study just because we were interested in understanding human behaviour but it’s really exciting that within a month of publication our findings are being applied to crime prevention.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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