Science finally discovers a use for babies

Feed me! Love me! Return my lost wallet!: Wallets containing pictures of babies were more likely to be returned.
Feed me! Love me! Return my lost wallet!: Wallets containing pictures of babies were more likely to be returned.Courtesy Alex Motrenko

They inspire people to return missing wallets. Scientists in Scotland deliberately placed wallets on the streets in Edinburgh to to see how many would be returned. Most of the wallets contained a photo—a baby, a puppy, a family portrait, or a photo of an elderly couple. Some wallets had no photos, but a charity receipt. And still others had nothing beyond name and address. None of the wallets contained any money.

In all, 42& of the wallets were returned. Those with baby pictures came back most often, 88% of the time. The puppy dog picture triggered an honest response in 53% of the finders; the family photo 48%; and the elderly couple photo only 28%. (I take this as evidence that Scots don't like old people.) Bringing up the rear were the wallets with the charity receipt (20%) and the ones with nothing special at all (15%).

Professor Richard Wiseman, the psychologist who ran the experiment, said the results demonstrate that humans are hard-wired with an instinct for compassion and want to protect vulnerable infants. This no doubt inspires us to protect future generations, but it's a raw deal if you ain't cute.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

shaunalynn10's picture

that is interesting i wonder why people return the ones with babies

posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 2:58pm
SyDnEy_RaE's picture
SyDnEy_RaE says:

maybe because baby's draw more attention & who know's that might be the carrier of the wallet child.their only picture.

posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 3:07pm
SyDnEy_RaE's picture
SyDnEy_RaE says:

i guess thats true i agree because if i found a wallet with a baby picture in it i would be more likely to return it.

posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 3:05pm
dellax28's picture
dellax28 says:

I usaully thought that ones with the family photo will mostly be return

posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 3:10pm
samanthapha's picture

That's really awkward that baby pictures are mostly returned. It's true i thought mostly family pictures would be most returned.

posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 3:20pm
poptartlover's picture
poptartlover says:

Huh. People don't like robbing from babies. Good thing.

posted on Fri, 07/17/2009 - 5:40pm
Gakki's picture
Gakki says:

i would probably return the wallet with the picture of the elderly couple and the puppy as well..! probably becasue the elderly are helpess and i love puppies myself..
the baby probably because it is more of a family thing and i am very close to my family so i would know..if you know what i mean.!!

posted on Sat, 07/18/2009 - 6:06am

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