Want people to play nice and not cheat each other? Bring toys.
The finding: Adults are less likely to cheat and more likely to engage in “pro-social” behaviors when reminders of children, such as teddy bears and crayons, are present.
The research: Sreedhari Desai and her research partner Francesca Gino had people play classic psychology games in which the subjects controlled how much money other people earned and could earn more themselves if they lied. Half the participants were either in a room with children’s toys or engaged in children’s activities. Across the board, those participants lied less and were more generous than the control subjects.
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