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Submission + - Scientists Discover How to Recover Lost Wallets

The Narrative Fallacy writes: "The Times reports that researchers left 240 wallets on the streets of Edinburgh last year to see how many were returned to their owners. The wallets were planted at random about a quarter of a mile apart and snapshots were inserted into a clear plastic window inside the wallets, none of which contained money. However, some of the wallets contained photographs of a baby, a cute puppy, a family or a portrait of an elderly couple while others contained a card suggesting the owner had recently made a charity donation. A control batch was also left containing no additional items. Those containing the picture of the infant were most likely to trigger an honest reaction from the finder, with 88 per cent being returned, followed by those containing pictures of the puppy at 53 per cent. Wallets containing the charity cards and the control sample were least likely to be returned, with rates of 20 and 15 per cent respectively. "The baby kicked off a caring feeling in people, which is not surprising from an evolutionary perspective," said Richard Wiseman, a psychologist who supervised the experiment. "We were amazed by the high percentage of wallets that came back.""

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