environment influences our behavior to a great extent.
SINCE 1982, when Professors Wilson and Kelling proposed their theory, the littering example has received plenty of experimental support. In one study, social psychologists placed paper fliers on 139 cars in a large hospital parking lot and watched to see what the car owners would do with them.
Again, the environment appeared to shape the response. When drivers emerged from the hospital to find a parking lot littered with scattered fliers, candy wrappers and coffee cups (arranged by the researchers, of course), nearly half of them removed the fliers from their cars and left them on the ground. In contrast, when the researchers swept the parking lot clean before the drivers returned, only 1 in 10 dropped the flier.
Unwittingly, the drivers adopted the behavior that seemed most appropriate given their understanding of the area’s prevailing norms.