How often do you catch yourself in a position where you are totally dependent on other people’s kindness? Car broke down? Lost in the city without a map? Need someone to lend you a phone for a call? These are only a few examples of situations where you will not be able to get around without somebody helping you. One thing that these type of circumstances teaches you is to always be kind if you spot someone who needs your help because you can never be sure when you’ll end up wishing somebody helped you.
Recently, researchers at Science journal conducted an experiment that cost them around half a million dollars
The idea is quite simple. 11 men and 2 women have traveled to 355 major cities across 40 countries where they “lost” 17,000 wallets. The main goal was to see how differently citizens in each country responded to a lost wallet. Would they return it? Would they keep the money? What was the reasoning behind their actions?
There were two types of wallets used in the experiment, one had a key and no money inside, another one had some money and a key
These wallets contained grocery lists written in the native language, business cards with the owner’s name and email written on them, some money, and a key.
The average amount of money in the wallet was $13.45 (USD) in the country’s currency, and a few countries (United Kingdom, Poland, and the United States) had a larger sum of $94.15. As mentioned before, there were also wallets that had no money but had a key.
Here’s the graph portraying how different countries responded to this experiment
As shown in the graph, the yellow dot symbolizes the percentage of wallets without any in money in them that were returned, and the red dot shows the percentage of returned wallets that contained money inside them. Scandinavian countries aced the experiment by returning the biggest amount of lost wallets. Unfortunately, countries like China, Morocco, Peru, and Kazakhstan had the smallest return-rate.
There were a few factors that affected the way people responded to the lost wallet – researchers found that wallets that had a key were returned way more often than those without the key, which mainly has to do with people thinking the key has a more significant value to the owner.