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Cues of being watched enhance cooperation in a real-world setting

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  • Melissa Bateson
  • Daniel Nettle
  • Gilbert Roberts

Abstract

We examined the effect of an image of a pair of eyes on contributions to an honesty box used to collect money for drinks in a university coffee room. People paid nearly three times as much for their drinks when eyes were displayed rather than a control image. This finding provides the first evidence from a naturalistic setting of the importance of cues of being watched, and hence reputational concerns, on human cooperative behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • Melissa Bateson & Daniel Nettle & Gilbert Roberts, 2006. "Cues of being watched enhance cooperation in a real-world setting," Natural Field Experiments 00214, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00214
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