Half of Brits will return a child's lost teddy bear, claims new study

Billy Langsworthy

By Billy Langsworthy

August 11th 2016 at 5:26PM
UPDATED August 16th 2016 at 12:18PM
Half of Brits will return a child's lost teddy bear, claims new study

500 teddy bears were intentionally lost in 25 major towns and cities across the UK in the study from My Nametag.

Over half of Brits will return a child’s lost teddy bear, according to a social experiment recently conducted by nametags firm My Nametags.

500 teddy bears were intentionally lost in 25 major towns and cities, each in a different location, such as a café, gym or park bench, between May to June this year. All had nametags with a child’s name and contact number, to see which places and type of person were most likely to return a lost bear.

The research found that 68 percent of the bears returned were given back by members of the public within 24 hours of being lost. Items that were lost for more than four days had a less than one percent chance of being reunited with their owner. The research also revealed that women were the most likely to call to reunite the lost bear.

“The research shows that people carry out acts of kindness when they feel some kind of empathy for others," said Richard Wiseman, a professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.

"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. 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.”

Lars Andersen, MD of My Nametags, added: “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.”

To find out where you have the best (and worst) chance of getting your lost bear returned, check out the stats below, and for more on the study, watch the video below:

City/Town Where Most Bears Were Returned

  1. York
  2. Witney
  3. Manchester

City/Town Where Least Bears Were Returned

  1. Bristol
  2. Oxford
  3. Wolverhampton

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