Archive for January 11, 2012


All we need is love?

French researchers say that adding the text “donating=loving” to a charitable collection box almost doubled the amount of money they raised.

Nicolas Guéguen and Lubomir Lamy placed opaque collection boxes in 14 bakeries in Brittany for two weeks. All the boxes featured the following text in French: “Women students in business trying to organise a humanitarian action in Togo. We are relying on your support”, together with a picture of a young African woman with an infant in her arms. Some boxes had this additional text in French just below the money slot: “DONATING=LOVING”; others had the text “DONATING=HELPING”; whilst others had no further text below the slot. Different box types were placed in different bakeries on different days and the amount of money collected each day was recorded.

Their results found that the text on the donation boxes made a profound difference. On average, almost twice as much money was raised daily in boxes with the “donating=loving” text, as compared with the “donating=helping” boxes Guéguen and Lamy think that the word “loving” acts as a prime, activating related concepts such as compassion, support and solidarity, and thereby encourages behaviour consistent with those ideas. Such an explanation would fit the wider literature showing how our motivations and attitudes can be influenced by words and objects without us realising it.

source: British Psychological Society Research Digest & cited December 2011

More info can be accessed by clicking underlined text.

Locked Up Alone is the report of Human Rights Watch into Detention Conditions and Mental Health at Guantanamo

This 54-page report documents the conditions in the various “camps” at the detention center, in which:
  • approximately 185 of the 270 detainees are housed in facilities akin to “supermax” prisons even though they have not yet been convicted of a crime.
  • These detainees have extremely limited contact with other human beings, spend 22 hours a day alone in small cells with little or no natural light or fresh air, are not provided any educational opportunities, and are given little more than a single book and the Koran to occupy their time.
  • Even their two hours of “recreation” time – which is sometimes provided in the middle of the night – generally takes place in single-cell cages so that detainees cannot physically interact with one another.
The absence of social and environmental stimulation has been found to lead to a range of mental health problems, ranging from:
  • insomnia and confusion to hallucinations and psychosis.[44]
  • Stuart Grassian, a psychiatrist specializing in conditions of confinement who has evaluated hundreds of inmates in different prisons, warns that even inmates with no prior history of mental illness can become “significantly ill” when subjected to prolonged periods of isolation.[45]


On January 11, 2002, the United States brought the first 20 prisoners to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, marking the beginning of a program of indefinite detention without charge or trial of terrorism suspects that has lasted 10 years. Since then, a total of 779 prisoners have been held at the facility…Human Rights Watch, more at http://www.hrw.org/node/104102


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