Want to keep your wallet? Carry a picture of a baby. What would you do if you found a wallet or a purse in the street?
Leave it, keep it or hand it in to the local police station? Scientists have suggested that evolution may be as important as morality.
In 2009, psychologists planted 240 wallets on the streets of Edinburgh in Scotland. Incredibly, over half were posted back. There was a twist to the story.
The psychologists inserted one of four photographs behind a clear plastic window inside the wallet.
The four images were an elderly couple, a happy family, a puppy and a smiling baby. Some of the wallets did not have a photograph inserted and some contained some charity documents.
Apparently, the study found that those people who found a wallet with a photograph of a baby were more likely to send it back. Only one in ten people were hard-hearted enough to keep the wallets with a photograph of a baby inside. Only one in seven wallets without a photograph were returned.
The wallets containing the picture of a baby had the highest rate of return. The scientists deduced that the photograph of the baby triggered a compassionate response in the people who found the wallets. There were 40 wallets containing a photograph of a baby. Over 88% were returned which was phenomenal.
Therefore, if you value your wallet or purse, carry a photograph of a baby.
The incredible power of imagery will never cease to amaze me.
My name is Steve Howard. You have been reading the digital circus.