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The watching-eye effect says that people behave more altruistically and exhibit less antisocial behavior in the presence of images that depict eyes, because these images insinuate that they are being watched. Eyes are strong signals of perception for humans. They signify that our actions are being seen and paid attention to even through mere depictions of eyes.

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  • Watching-eye effect
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  • The watching-eye effect says that people behave more altruistically and exhibit less antisocial behavior in the presence of images that depict eyes, because these images insinuate that they are being watched. Eyes are strong signals of perception for humans. They signify that our actions are being seen and paid attention to even through mere depictions of eyes.
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  • The watching-eye effect says that people behave more altruistically and exhibit less antisocial behavior in the presence of images that depict eyes, because these images insinuate that they are being watched. Eyes are strong signals of perception for humans. They signify that our actions are being seen and paid attention to even through mere depictions of eyes. It has been demonstrated that these effects are so pronounced that even depictions of eyes are enough to trigger them. This means that people need not actually be watched, but that a simple photograph of eyes is enough to elicit feelings that individuals are being watched which can impact their behavior to be more pro-social and less antisocial. Empirical psychological research has continually shown that the visible presence of images depicting eyes nudges people towards slightly, but measurably more honest and more pro-social behavior. The concept is part of the psychology of surveillance and has implications for the areas of crime reduction and prevention without increasing actual surveillance, just by psychological measures alone. By simply inserting signs depicting eyes and leading others to believe they are being watched, crime can be reduced, as it leads to behavior that is more socially acceptable.
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