SEATTLE, (CBS Seattle) – Over 300 Seattle children were the subject of a bizarre experiment on Halloween night in Seattle.
It was a 1976 Halloween trick that would leave today’s parents horrified.
When the kids knocked on one of 18 doors that night, they were greeted by a nice lady who let them inside to fetch treats from a bowl.
She told each child they could take only one piece of candy from the bowl and then left the room.
Except the children were not alone…they were being watched…
But not by ghosts, witches or mad scientists.
They were watched by psychologists, through a hidden peephole, that were waiting to see if children would take more than one piece of candy when there was no adult around.
A report in io9.com says researchers wanted to find how if children would disobey those instructions if they thought no one would ever find out.
In half the houses there were mirrors set behind the bowl, so the children could see themselves.
The self-aware children, those who were in front of the mirror, tended to be better behaved. But those that did take candy usually took more of the candy than those who didn’t.
Older children were more likely to disobey the instructions and kids in groups were about twice as likely to take the candy than kids who were on their own.
Kids who came into the house with their parents were disregarded.
These days it might be harder to find parents who would let their kids go into a strangers house alone…even on Halloween.
The study is published by the American Psychological Association.
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