Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

'Big Brother' eyes inspire police crime crackdown campaign

07.09.2006
A Newcastle University experiment which found a way of making people act more honestly has provided inspiration for a police campaign.

The experiment, which gained global media attention, found that people put nearly three times as much money into a unsupervised coffee room cash collection box when they were being watched by a pair of eyes on a poster.

Now West Midlands Police are using the idea in an initiative called Operation Momentum, which is aimed at tackling the rise in crime that traditionally occurs in the autumn.

Promotional posters feature a distinctive picture of eyes carrying the message ‘We’ve got our eyes on criminals', which police say was inspired by the experiment by Newcastle University psychology researchers led by Dr Melissa Bateson.

Details of the experiment, published earlier this year in the Royal Society journal, Biology Letters, gained global publicity when the University press office issued a news release about its findings.

The hundreds of media outlets which covered the story included international TV and radio stations, the Globe and Mail, Canada, Der Spiegel, Germany, the Bangkok Post, Thailand, BBC Radio Four's Today programme, Radio Five Live, UK broadsheet and tabloid newspapers, regional media and many, many others.

Chief Inspector Sue Southern, Head of the Press and PR Department at West Midlands Police, said: "We are always interested in new and innovative ways of trying to reduce crime and promote crime reduction messages.

"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.

"This latest research at Newcastle University has quickly been built into our marketing for Operation Momentum and we hope it will give us that extra edge in making our streets safer."

Dr Bateson, of the Evolution and Behaviour Research Group in the School of Biology and Psychology at Newcastle University, worked with Drs Daniel Nettle and Gilbert Roberts for the study.

She said the fact that the study had provided inspiration for the police campaign highlighted the value of pure science projects: “We're thrilled to see our research being used to prevent crime in the real world,” she commented.

“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.”

Dr Bateson and colleagues made use of a long-running 'honesty box' system in a University common room for their experiment.

An honesty box is a system of payment which relies on people's honesty to pay a specified price for goods or services. The group calculated how much people paid for their drinks when a price list featuring a picture of eyes was placed above the honesty box, compared to a list with a picture of flowers.

On average, people paid 2.76 as much 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.

The experiment, which tested social co-operation theories, showed how people behave differently when they believe they are being watched because they are worried what others will think of them.

Claire Jordan | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press.office/press.release/content.phtml?ref=1157534763

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>