Strangers are more likely to return lost wallets containing photos of cute babies, according to British researchers. The scientists sprinkled 240 wallets across Edinburgh last year with pictures of either a smiling baby, a puppy, a “happy family,” or a “contended elderly couple.” It turns out nobody cares about your pooch, retired parents, or smugly superior family life. But that cute wittle baby? Apparently it triggers a “compassionate instinct towards vulnerable infants that people have evolved to ensure the survival of future generations.” Finally, an everyday use for evolution!
Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of New Mexico, says marketers are trying too hard to find a working model of why people spend money the way they do. It really comes down to the human equivalent of “cost signaling” in the animal world—a sort of “peacock feather” display that’s supposed to tell peers and prospective mates how smart or sophisticated we are. The only problem is, other people never fall for it.
Would you rather be A or B?
And I’m wondering what percentage of people with checking accounts actually carry or write checks anymore (I myself have gotten to the point where I pay all my bills online and use cash or plastic in stores).