The UK company My Nametag decided to find out how would people react if they find a lost teddy bear. So, between May and June 2016, the company intentionally “lost” 500 teddy bears in 25 of the major cities in the UK.
Each teddy bear had a tag with the child’s name who owns it and a phone number. Stuffies were “lost” at various places like playgrounds, restaurants, gyms, parks and so on. The goal was to see which places and types of persons were most likely to return a found lost teddy bear.
Why you should have a nametag on your teddy bear
The results were more than impressive, said My Nametags. A total of 68% of the bears were returned within the first 24% of being lost. Teddy bears who were lost for four days had less than 1% chance of getting back.
The research also showed women were more likely to call and return the teddy bear. The results can’t count what number of the 500 bears were actually found by someone and not entirely lost or thrown away. So 68% in 24 hours is actually a very impressive number.
“The research shows that people carry out acts of kindness when they feel some kind of empathy for others. When people see a lost bear they are likely to think that it may be have been dropped by a child, who is now frantically searching for the bear,” said Richard Wiseman, a professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire to ToyNews.
Teddy bears inspire us to help others
“This effect is applied by the bear having a nametag – it is no longer just a bear – now it has an identity and is even more likely to produce feelings of empathy. Some studies have shown that just touching a bear can increase the likelihood of people helping others. In one experiment students who simply hugged a bear were far more likely to co-operate with their fellow students. So, overall, the bear and the nametag produce the optimum conditions for empathy and resulted in the high percentage of returned bears”, Wiseman said.
“We were amazed with the number of teddy bears that came back to us. The research really shows how caring we are as a nation. Many of those who called up to return the lost bears said they had done so because they had been in a similar position before, having lost a treasured item. Luckily, as the bears had nametags, it had been easy for them to be returned”, Lars Andersen, MD of My Nametags said.
The research shows that the top 3 cities where the most bears were returned are York, Witney and Manchester. On the contrast, the three cities where the least bear were returned were Bristol, Oxford and Wolverhampton.