A beneficial side-effect of READ posters?

In a study published nine years ago, researchers reported that “an image of a pair of eyes appearing to observe behaviour dramatically increases contribution to a public good in a real-world context.”

The experimenters found that more money was collected at an honor-system coffee/tea station during weeks when the price sign included a photo of observant eyes, compared with the pictures of flowers used during alternating weeks.

Perhaps libraries could benefit from the strategic placement of READ posters (strategically selected for the celebrity’s gaze) in a number of contexts where contributions to the public good made outside of the staff’s line of sight are desirable:

  • Honor-system coffee counters
  • Honor-system printers
  • Public computers
  • Self-check stations
  • Summer reading log sheets
  • Etc.

The poster with Common might be twice as effective …

READ poster: Common with The Audacity of Hope
(Common poster, available from the ALA Shop)


About Brian Smith

Brian is Applications & Web Developer at Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS).
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