Putting eyes on a donation jar made people more charitable

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A recent paper published in International Journal of Behavioural Biology found a novel way to make people more generous. All it takes is some eyes. Researchers found by sticking eye images on charity donation jars in a supermarket resulted in people giving 48 percent more compared to standard, undecorated buckets. The findings could indicate a way to get people to respond more positively in certain situations, including reacting to robots.

The study took place over the course of 11 weeks in a busy supermarket in Northern England. The experiment placed white, plastic buckets containing the store’s logo and the name of a charitable cause at the end of six checkouts. The only change made to the buckets over the course of the study was the addition of “subtle eye images,” and that was all it took to see donations increase by nearly 50 percent. During the weeks the plain buckets were in place, they tallied £5.48 per 1,000 customers. With the addition of eyes, the giving jumped to £6.69 per thousand customers.

Interestingly, the study found that had a noticeable but smaller effect on people when the supermarket was busy. During those hours, people contributed to the eye-equipped charity bins at a 30 percent higher rate than the standard buckets. But when the grocery store was quiet, people tossed 60 percent more cash into the jars with eyes on them.

The research is actually just the latest to suggest eye images have a positive effect on people. A landmark study in 2005 found the subtle addition of eyes resulted in “prosocial behavior,” in part because people feel as though they are being watched. That research could be used to create more positive interactions with robots, which humans are largely skeptical of. American supermarket chain Giant Food Stores has tested this theory, plastering cartoonish eyes on robot security guard Marty, which has been deployed in its many stores across the east coast. People have no rebelled and started toppling the bots, so it appears the googly eyes have been successful.

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Researchers find Twitter is good for amplifying lies

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When it comes to spreading President Trump’s false and misleading remarks, Twitter is a perfect storm. A study by Media Matters found that when tweeting about Trump’s statements, major news outlets include false information 30 percent of the time. And 65 percent of the time, news outlets fail to provide corrections or context in the body of those tweets. That’s especially troublesome given that so many people get their news via tweets and headlines and do not fully read most stories, where they might find more context.

The study analyzed more than 2,000 tweets posted by 32 major US news outlets between January 26th and February 15th. It found that, on Twitter, news outlets amplified Trump’s misinformation more than 400 times over a three-week period — a rate of 19 times per day.

According to Media Matters, the problem stems from the way journalists are trained to write headlines — treating them as intrinsically newsworthy and only addressing if they are correct in the article. This problem isn’t limited to Trump, but in his case, it’s perhaps more apparent because roughly one in five tweets mentioning Trump was about a particular quote, and according to The Washington Post, Trump has made more than 10,000 false and misleading claims. This also highlights how difficult it can be to fit news and context into 280 characters, and it may reveal a weakness in Twitter’s ability to disseminate news.

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Meal kits might be better for the planet than a trip to the store

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It turns out the meal kits you can have delivered to your door by services like Blue Apron, HelloFresh and even Walmart might be more than convenient. They could be better for the environment, too. It’s a bit counter intuitive given all the packaging and delivery involved. But a study by the University of Michigan found that the carbon dioxide emissions tied to the average grocery store meal were two kilograms higher than those linked to most pre-packed options.

The difference is in the amount of food waste meal kits prevent. While grocery store meals have less packaging per meal, more food has to be purchased and that leads to higher household food waste. It turns out all the cardboard and plastic wrap involved isn’t as bad for the environment as the extra chicken breast that gets freezer burned or forgotten about — given all of the resources that went into producing the chicken breast in the first place.

The meal-kit model also reduces some of the waste that’s common in grocery stores — like overstocking to prevent shortages. And it’s more efficient for one truck to deliver multiple meals than it is for multiple drivers to make a trip to the store. Those last-mile emissions accounted for 11 percent of the average grocery meal, compared to four percent for meal-kit dinners.

These emissions savings are good news considering that meal kits are on the rise. In 2018, US sales reached $3.1 billion, according to the Packaged Facts research firm. Few studies have been done on this relatively new model, but they could help us understand more ways to minimize the impacts of the food system by further reducing food waste and coupling it with advances in transportation logistics and more sustainable packaging.

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How to not suck at being a manager according to your fave fictional bosses

Who knew you can learn how to be a badass boss from our fave movies and TV shows?
Who knew you can learn how to be a badass boss from our fave movies and TV shows?
Image: Mitch Haaseth/Nbc-Tv/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock


Feel like you might be ready to lead? Maybe you’re thinking about starting an MBA but need some inspiration before you make your move? Look no further than your screen. Yep, as usual, pop culture is here to save the day. 

These fearless film and television characters are guaranteed to inspire your inner leadership skills whether you’re planning on managing a team, dreaming of being your own boss or you’re simply looking for a competitive edge in your career. 

Miranda Priestly 

With her scathing commentary and unbelievably high expectations, Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of Runway magazine, might be one of the silver screen’s most feared (and revered) bosses. 

Made famous in the 2006 movie, The Devil Wears Prada, the publishing magnate (reportedly based on real-life magazine editor Anna Wintour) might have been scary but she still managed to get a few things right. In between forcing her employees to forgo their friendships, relationships and personal commitments outside of work (that’s bad), Miranda taught her employees how to anticipate the needs of the magazine and company (that’s good). 

While it’s crazy to expect anyone to read their boss’s minds, there’s something very useful about having the skills to anticipate what someone else needs in order to do their job and work collaboratively to achieve better outcomes. 

Mr. Burns

“It’s Kurns, you idiot!” OK, no, it is Mr. Burns and yes, he’s a horrible tyrant who blocked out the sun, ran Bart over with his car, fired Homer more times than we can remember and had a proclivity for bribing city officials BUT… in being so evil and greedy, he’s also taught us a number of valuable lessons about how not to be a boss. 

Monty Burns 101: Don’t silo yourself off from your business or employees. By actually involving yourself in your workplace and not just leaving the heavy lifting to someone else, this provides you with the opportunity to connect to staff and create an inclusive and supportive culture. 

Just because you’re a leader doesn’t mean you’re above checking in with your team, hearing their suggestions and collaborating to create a better working environment. Poor leaders don’t truly realise (or care about) the consequences of their actions and the negative impact this has on others. Don’t do what Monty Burns does… 

Margaret Tate

Being committed to your role and having a true love for what you do instantly makes you a better leader.

Being committed to your role and having a true love for what you do instantly makes you a better leader.

Image: Touchstone/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

In the 2009 hit, The Proposal, Margaret Tate (played by the one and only Sandra Bullock) blackmails her assistant, Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) into agreeing to marry her in order to avoid being deported back to Canada. 

While there’s no need to glorify that little moment, there are plenty of other instants throughout the film that make Margaret an amazing boss. The most important being that she truly loves her job. She isn’t there for the wrong reasons or to simply get ahead in her career – she’s there because she has a true passion for the work. 

Being committed to your role and having a true love for what you do instantly makes you a better leader because you want what’s best for the company and you’re willing to work hard alongside your team to achieve positive outcomes. 

Michael Scott

Buying your own statement mug doesn't necessarily make it true.

Buying your own statement mug doesn’t necessarily make it true.

Image: Mitch Haaseth/Nbc-Tv/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

OK so here’s another big takeaway from the ‘how-not-to’ manage handbook. You probably remember Michael from The Office. You know, he’s the awkward boss who kind of has everyone’s best interests at heart but always seems to mess things up no matter what he does. His attempts at making everyone like him may seem harmless, but his managerial experience at Dunder Mifflin is a fantastic reminder that not everyone is born to lead. 

To ensure you’re ready to take that position and lead a company or team of people, you need all the attributes Michael doesn’t have. Tact, trustworthiness, focus, and the ability to read people and situations. Basically — try not to be a narcissist, don’t take credit for other people’s work, and don’t make a point of criticising people. It doesn’t help anyone and to make matters worse, it makes you look bad too. 

Liz Lemon

Lemon is easily one of television’s best bosses even though she never gets credit for it.

Lemon is easily one of television’s best bosses even though she never gets credit for it.

Image: Nicole Rivelli/Nbc-Tv/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

As the head of the writing team for 30 Rock’s fictional variety show, The Girlie Show (or TGS with Tracy Jordan) Lemon is easily one of television’s best bosses even though she never gets credit for it. 

Not only does she have to manage a number of large personalities in the ‘talent’ portion of her show, she also manages a group of quirky and neurotic writers who are all dealing with their own personal foibles. Basically, Lemon’s the gal who keeps the whole machine running and it’s up to her to be able to problem solve on a whim, delegate appropriately, and pander to the multiple egos she is forced to deal with on an hourly basis. 

All in all, she’s got a lot of balls in the air, but she juggles them pretty well. Lemon might not know how to take care of herself, but like all good managers she can be trusted. She also understands that her actions affect the team’s motivation, so she adapts her approach to each individual to get the best out of them. No one-size-fits-all approach here. 

Dr Perry Cox

He might have been the perennial grump on Scrubs but there’s no denying Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) was also a great leader. 

Why? Because he cared. Not about his staff’s feelings or their insignificant daily dramas, but about teaching them to be the best doctors they can be, so they could those who need their help most. His team trusted him and therefore worked harder and better as a result. He didn’t earn this trust by being their best friend, he earned it by being the ultimate example of what a good doctor (and person) can achieve if they work hard at something.

Click here for more information on getting your MBA and becoming the best boss ever.

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Tech regulation in Europe will only get tougher

European governments have been bringing the hammer down on tech in recent months, slapping record fines and stiff regulations on the largest imports out of Silicon Valley. Despite pleas from the world’s leading companies and Europe’s eroding trust in government, European citizens’ staunch support for regulation of new technologies points to an operating environment that is only getting tougher.

According to a roughly 25-page report recently published by a research arm out of Spain’s IE University, European citizens remain skeptical of tech disruption and want to handle their operators with kid gloves, even at a cost to the economy.

The survey was led by the IE’s Center for the Governance of Change — an IE-hosted research institution focused on studying “the political, economic, and societal implications of the current technological revolution and advances solutions to overcome its unwanted effects.” The “European Tech Insights 2019” report surveyed roughly 2,600 adults from various demographics across seven countries (France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, and the UK) to gauge ground-level opinions on ongoing tech disruption and how government should deal with it.

The report does its fair share of fear-mongering and some of its major conclusions come across as a bit more “clickbaity” than insightful. However, the survey’s more nuanced data and line of questioning around specific forms of regulation offer detailed insight into how the regulatory backdrop and operating environment for European tech may ultimately evolve.


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