A study suggests that the belief of being watched makes people behave more honestly, even if the eyes are not real.
A Newcastle University team monitored people dropping money in a canteen "honesty box" while they bought a drink.
They observed that people put nearly three times more money when a poster depicting a pair of eyes was pasted above the box than a poster showing flowers.
The poster might have generated a feeling of being watched, as the brain reacts to images of eyes and faces, reported the research team, adding, that this finding could aid anti-social behavior tackling initiatives, and raises the possibility of getting people to behave more pro-socially.
Professor George Fieldman, an evolutionary psychologist from
Chilterns University College, Buckinghamshire, said:
"It would be interesting to know how one can apply these sorts of findings more generally in organizational structures and in society in general to maximize upon honorable and altruistic behavior."