Mirror mirror on the wall, what’s one of the most persuasive objects of them all? Actually, mirror you are.
What is the purpose of a mirror?
It helps us see what we look like on the outside. Mirrors also act as windows into what we look like, or what we want to look like, on the inside. Viewing ourselves in a mirror causes us to act in a more socially desirable way.
To prove this, researchers did an experiment on Trick or Treaters at Halloween.
When children rang the doorbell of a particular house, the woman asked them their names and said there is a bowl of sweets on table – but to take only one each. The Researcher mentioned she had work to do and quickly left room. What the kids didn’t know is they were part of an experiment. The researchers wanted to see if the kids behaved dishonestly by taking more than 1 sweet.
33.7% took more than they should!
Next the researchers angled a mirror in the room, so the children had to look at themselves before they took sweets.
The theft rate went down to 8.9%!
Focusing people on themselves and their own image makes them act more consistently with their values.
The researchers then conducted another experiment about the littering problem at school at the beginning of term.
They bought participants to a lab and they made half of them look at themselves on CCTV.
The other half looked at geometric shapes on TV.
The participants were then asked to put some gel on their hands. They were then given a paper towel to wipe it off their hands and then told to exit out the back door into a stairwell.
46% of those that hadn’t viewed themselves on CCTV dropped paper towel on the ground. Those that had viewed themselves, only 24% dropped towel.
So, the question is, how can people that litter, look at themselves in the mirror every day?
The answer seems is they can’t.
A manager who had a spate of theft in his stockroom, reduced the theft by putting mirrors into the stockroom.
Mirrors act as a good alternative to video surveillance.
If you can’t put a mirror in, then psychologists found that asking people their names have a similar effect. Wearing name tags can have a similar effect as well.
Adding a picture of an eye on the wall also has effect of getting others to act more socially.
Researchers did an experiment.
They put up in tea and coffee machine into a workplace where people had to pay for the tea or coffee.
They put a different sign up each week.
One week it was flowers.
The next week eyes,
The week after, a landscape.
Then the next week another set of eyes.
On those weeks where the eyes were up, coffee and tea drinkers paid up more than 2.5 times more!!!