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The Watching-Eye Effect is related to the Hawthorne effect which describes that there is an observable change in behavior when people are being watched. It has been demonstrated that these effects are so pronounced that even depictions of eyes are enough to trigger them, in which case they are referred to as Watching-Eye Effect. 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.
The effect differs from the Psychic staring effect in that the latter describes the feeling of being watched, whereas individuals who succumb to the Watching-Eye Effect are usually aware that the eyes are only images.
- Fake security camera
- Evil eye
- Situation awareness
- Subject-expectancy effect
- Eye contact
- Daniel Nettle, Kenneth Nott, Melissa Bateson (December 12, 2012): 'Cycle Thieves, We Are Watching You': Impact of a Simple Signage Intervention against Bicycle Theft doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051738
- Ryo Oda, Yuta Kato, Kai Hiraishi (July 28, 2015): The Watching-Eye Effect on Prosocial Lying doi:10.1177/1474704915594959