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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stretchable biofuel cells extract energy from sweat to power wearable devices

22.08.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technique to treating mitral valve diseases: First patient data

22.08.2017 | Medical Engineering

IVAM Marketing Prize recognizes convincing technology marketing for the tenth time

22.08.2017 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>