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 Sibling differences: Later-borns choose less prestigious programs at university
14.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

nachricht Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ
09.11.2017 | Vanderbilt University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>