Photos of watchful eyes discourage litterbugs

Researchers at Newcastle University handed out two different leaflets to pedestrians on a university campus. One leaflet had a photo of watching eyes. The other did not. They observed that "4.7% of people dropped the leaflet with eyes compared to 15.6% of the control leaflets."

A second experiment found that the effect was only present when there were no other people in the immediate vicinity as when other people are present you are less likely to behave in an anti-social manner.

Professor Bateson added: "In the fight against anti-social littering, this study could be a real help. Fast food retailers might want to think about using it on packaging to discourage people discarding the wrappers. The flip side is, for those handing out leaflets, it could help people take in the messages are they are less likely to throw away a flyer with eyes on."