You Litter Less If Eyes Are Looking At You (Even Fake Ones)
No one wants someone else to see them litter. Even the high school movie antagonist who flips a crushed beer can out of his convertible while cruising away and blowing dust in the nerd's face scientifically hopes that you won't see him do it. Don't believe us? One study shows that not only are people less likely to litter when they know eyes are glued to them, but also that this feeling runs so deep that it doesn't even matter if the eyes are real or fake.
Researchers at Newcastle University used two groups to examine antisocial behavior, and gave one group a pamphlet that had watchful eyes on it and the other a pamphlet that hid the eyes. While 15.6 percent dropped the pamphlet when the eyes were concealed, only 4.7 percent dropped it when they could see the cruel paper eyes judging them. This test followed up a study performed in 2013 which showed that putting eye pictures next to anti-theft statements lowered bike thefts at racks by 62 percent.
Another experiment revealed that these results were only applicable in areas where there were no other people around. So the decrease in littering wasn't due to timidity in the face of actual walking, breathing humans who might ask you to pick up after yourself. It was all due to a pair of cartoon eyes. No wonder those 1984 Big Brother posters were so effective.
Man, can you imagine if like, the hills had eyes?
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