December 22, 2010

Eyes See You

A research group did a behavioral economics study utilizing the snack room at a business office.

The office had no vending machines. So there was simply a container of snacks, a price sheet, and a deposit box. It was based on an honor system.

The research group did two tests with the price sheet. In both tests, the prices remained identical. The only difference was with the image included on the top of the sheet. In the first, a picture of flowers. In the second, a pair of eyes.

Ready for this? During the weeks that the picture of the eyes were displayed on the price sheet, the deposit box received 3 times as much money.

Surely these workers didn't believe the image could actually catch them in acts of dishonesty. So how did the eyes affect their behavior so much. Does it simply trick them into behaving as if they WERE being watched? Or is it a reminder that, if God exists, they always are?