If you lose your wallet, this might determine if you get it back

Baby pictures
Baby pictures

What's in your wallet? According to Richard Wiseman, Ph.D. of UK-based University of Hertfordshire, it could make the difference in someone's decision to return it if it's lost.

As noted in July's issue of Redbook magazine, the best selling author of The Luck Factorand Quirkologyconducted an experiment on the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland, in which he planted 240 wallets in high-traffic areas: 120 carried photos in their plastic sleeves, 120 did not. None of the wallets held money.

Carefully avoiding locations and situations that might deter good intentions (i.e. trash cans, dog droppings, mail boxes, vomit), a whopping 82% of wallets containing baby pictures were returned.

Puppy lovers, families and seniors weren't as fortunate. Compassionate strangers returned 53% of wallets that carried pictures of dogs, 48% of wallets showing a family photo, and only 28% of wallets carrying a photo of an elderly couple. Harsh.

Wallets indicating charitable contributions inspired only a 20% return rate.

Those faring the worst, however, were photo and charitable-contribution free. Only 15% of wallets without pictures were returned. Is it easier to ignore people we can't relate to?