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1 minute reading

Acts that seem appropriate in isolation seem unacceptable when viewed from an observer's perspective

Acts that seem appropriate in isolation seem unacceptable when viewed from an observer's perspective Acts that seem appropriate in isolation seem unacceptable when viewed from an observer's perspective
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Drunk Tank Pink And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave
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Drunk Tank Pink And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave
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#honesty
#Human behavior
#Moral
#paying (for something)

For several years, the staff in the psychology department at Newcastle University, in northern England, took tea and coffee from the kitchen without contributing to the honesty box on the counter. A notice nearby asked drinkers to pay a small fee for their beverages-30 pence for tea, 50 pence for coffee, and 10 pence for milk - but the pile of coins inside the honesty box accumulated slowly, while tea, coffee, and milk supplies shrank rapidly (...) As students of human behavior, they recognized that people are guided by weak moral compasses that function much more effectively under surveillance (...) the researchers devised an intervention that merely made people feel as though they were being watched. During a ten-week period, they displayed ten different pictures above the price list for one week each, alternating between images of a pair of eyes and images of flowers. The researchers measured how much milk was consumed as an index of coffee and tea consumption, and counted how much money was in the honesty box at the end of each week. The intervention was a remarkable success. When the image featured a collection of flowers, drinkers paid an average of only 15 pence per liter of milk consumed, whereas they paid 42 pence per liter when the image displayed a pair of eyes (...)

(...) acts that seem appropriate in isolation seem unacceptable when viewed from an observer's perspective.

Today few of us spend more than a few hours alone, so our thoughts and actions come to reflect the presence of the family, friends, and strangers who surround us.

So much of the way we think and behave is molded by these interactions with others that it becomes very difficult to imagine the people we'd become during a week, a month, or even a year of social isolation (...)

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