Worldwide, the most amount of honest people willing to return your mobile are to be found in Slovenia, the fewest in Malaysia. This finding was a result of an exclusive survey of Reader’s Digest company in 32 world metropolises, where Reader’s Digest is published. The article about the research will appear in the August issue. Reporters “lost” 960 brand new mobile phones altogether. They got back 654 of them, which means 68 percent. Prague came on the excellent eighth rank: there were 23 honest people that did not hesitate to return the mobile phone.

Unconventional Survey

Two Reader’s Digest reporters carefully selected various places where they "dropped" the phones. They chose areas with high criminality as well as luxury shopping areas in the centre. One of the researchers called the phone while the other one was observing from a distance. Honest finders who made the effort to find the owner with the help of the address book were told about the purpose of the whole study and asked about the motives of their behaviour and of their own experience with human honesty or dishonesty.

Are Prague Citizens Honest?

More than two thirds of Prague citizens are honest according to the test. It was found that the busier the place where the reporters dropped the phone, the greater the chance of its return. A form of psychological public control came into play. The economic and social status of the finders didn’t play any role. Well off people apparently did not have any problem stealing a phone given the opportunity. On the contrary, for example in the park in Karlovo Náměstí, a phone left on a bench was handed back by a group of teenagers with dreadlocks and beers in their hands.

Another interesting finding was the fact that Prague women – and women in general - were more likely than men to return a phone. “Women tend more to keep good relationships and part of the strategy is actively searching out opportunities to do a good turn,” said lawyer Terrence Schulman, the founder of the Centre for Kleptomania and Compulsive Spending in American Michigan.

Honesty Motifs: Belief in God and Common Human Courtesy

In Bombay a man tried to steal the phone, but an owner of a nearby shop put together a group of men that stopped him. In Netherlands a little boy found one of the phones and managed to persuade his parents to keep it. “What phone” stammered with surprise a security guard in Hong Kong while holding the phone wrapped in a newspaper in his hand. However, despite the feeling of ominous decay of the world, which everybody has from time to time, it turned out that most people still have the sense of honesty: “Crime is simply not a normal behaviour among people,” says the psychologist Paul Ekman from Californian University, an expert on frauds. “People want to trust others and they also want to be trusted”.

Source: Reader’s Digest

RankCity Country Phones Recovered (out of 30)
1 Ljubljana Slovenia 29
2 Toronto Canada 28
3 Seoul South Korea 27
4 Stocholm Sweden 26
5Mumbai India 24
Manila Philippines 24
New YorkUSA 24
8 Prague Czech Republic 23
Budapest Hungary 23
Warsaw Poland 23
Helsinki Finland 23
AucklandNew Zealand 23
Zagreb Croatia 23
14 Sao Paulo Brazil 21
Paris France 21
Berlin Germany 21
Bangkok Thailand 21
18 Milan Italy 20
Mexico City Mexico 20
Zurich Switzerland 20
21 Sydney Australia 19
London UK 19
23 Madrid Spain 18
24 Moscow Russia 17
25 Singapore Singapore 16
Buenos Aires Argentina 16
Taipei Taiwan 16
28Lisbon Portugal 15
29Amsterdam Netherlands 14
Bucharest Romania 14
31 Hong Kong Hong Kong 13
Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 13