Got a baby picture of your kids in your wallet? You might want to toss one in there a recent study done in Scotland found that wallets with pictures of babies were overwhelmingly more likely to be returned than those with pictures of a puppy, a family, or a contented elderly couple.
A team of psychologists dropped 240 wallets in the streets of Edinburgh, with an even number of each having one of those four types of photos clearly visible, or a card indicating the owner has given to charity, or nothing other than an address. Researchers found that 88 percent of the time, the wallets with baby pictures were sent back, while the lowest return rates came for the charity card and no additional image. All the wallets were stuffed with identical items in addition to the images raffle tickets, membership cards, but no cash or other identifying information.
Across all categories, 42 percent of the wallets were returned, which surprised researchers. But they were not surprised by the baby thing. We’re hard wired to get all empathetic when confronted by a cute little baby. It’s evolution!
According to the story: “Scientists argue that it would be difficult to genetically code for feeling empathy exclusively towards your own child and much easier to code for feeling empathy towards all children. If you find a baby alone, there is a good chance it belongs to you, making it an effective evolutionary trait, said study leader Dr. Richard Wiseman.”