Darkness ‘encourages lying and crime’Darkness encourages people to lie and commit crime because it creates a feeling of anonymity, according to scientists.
Researchers found that darkness makes people think we can get away with doing the wrong thing. They found that even wearing sunglasses made people feel they could get away with more because they assume others are unaware of what they are doing.
The study, conducted by the University of Toronto and published in the journal Psychological Science, placed participants in a dimly or well-lit room and received a brown envelope containing $10 along with one empty white envelope.
They were then asked to complete a worksheet with 20 grids, each consisting of 12 three-digit numbers.
The participants had five minutes to find two numbers in each grid that added up to 10.
The researchers left it up to the participants to score their own work and for each pair of numbers correctly identified they could keep 50 cents from their supply of money.
Dr Vanessa Bohns, who conducted the study, said: “At the end of the experiment, the participants were asked to place the remainder of their money into the white envelope on their way out. While there was no difference in actual performance, participants in the slightly dim room cheated more and thus earned more undeserved money than those in a well-lit room.”In the second experiment, some participants wore a pair of sunglasses and others wore clear glasses while interacting with a stranger in a different room. Each person had $6 to allocate between themself and the recipient and could keep what he or she didn’t offer. Those wearing sunglasses behaved more selfishly.In the third experiment, the scientists replicated the previous experiment and then measured the extent to which participants felt anonymous during the experiment.Dr Bohns said: “Once again, those wearing sunglasses gave significantly less money and those wearing sunglasses reported feeling more anonymous during the study.“Across all three experiments, darkness had no bearing on actual anonymity, yet it still increased morally questionable behaviours.“The experience of darkness may induce a sense of anonymity that is disproportionate from actual anonymity in a given situation.” source