Thursday, July 16, 2009

The power of a smiley baby

Don't leave home without a picture of a baby in your wallet. Even if you don’t have a baby.

Scientists in Edinburgh carried out a cunning plan to test our honesty. They scattered wallets about the streets to see how many were returned. And prominent inside each was a different picture. Each wallet had either:

a) a smiling baby

b) a cute puppy

c) a happy family or

d) an elderly couple.

Amazingly nearly half the 240 ‘lost’ wallets were returned. Well done, Britain (Scotland?)

But those wallets with a picture of a pretty baby inside were the most returned. 88% of them came back. Next was the puppy wallet with 53%. Happy family dropped to 48%. The old couple staggered in last at 28% returned.

The conclusion Dr Richard Wiseman and his team of psychologists came to here was that we all have an inbuilt compassion towards vulnerable infants. A compassion that has evolved to ensure the survival of future generations of our species. Even any hardened criminals who found the baby picture in a wallet must have gone all soft and gooey and returned their booty.

I think most parents could tell the good doctor that information for free.

Interesting that the puppy came second? Just shows what a pushover we are for animals. (I certainly am). But the mega low score for the elderly picture suggests what we already know. That Britain is not the place to be if you’re old.

Interesting to ponder what the results might have been in other countries? Certainly baby would always come out on top. But in what order the others?

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