Teddy Bears = Good Behavior (in Adults!)

A research study by Sreedhari Desai, a research fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and an assistant professor at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

For 27 years, Kinship Center’s logo teddy bears have symbolized a mission centered on improving children’s lives. Choosing this logo was no accident, according to Kinship Center co-founder and Executive Director Carol Biddle. “We always knew our bears had magic,” she says.

A new research study highlighted in September’s Harvard Business Review seems to agree. The study found that even in adults, behavior improves in the presence of teddy bears and other reminders of childhood. Research subjects were more truthful, more generous, more ethical and generally better behaved when such cues were present.

Researcher Sreedhari Desai cites scientific knowledge to answer the skeptics, who find it hard to believe that adults are less likely to cheat and more likely to engage in pro-social behaviors when reminders of children such as teddy bears are present. “Neuroscience has shown that oxytocin is released when people are exposed to kids,” she says. “And oxytocin is associated with pro-social behavior.”

Click here to read more conclusions of the study and to hear an interview with Desai.


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