Lost wallets with baby photos more likely to be returned

This article reports on an experiment investigating the impact of various photos in lost wallets.

240 wallets were distributed on the streets (in Britain). Each wallet had the same random items in it, but no cash.

The only difference was a single photo included:

  • Photo of a baby: 88% of wallets returned
  • Photo of a puppy: 53% of wallets returned
  • Photo of a family: 48% of wallets returned
  • Photo of an elderly couple: 28% of wallets returned
  • Card showing recent charity giving: 20% of wallets returned
  • Control with no extra items: 15% of wallets returned

Even in such a small experiment the baby photo obviously had a significant emotional impact on those who found the wallets.

Irrational human nature at work again.