No-Littering Signs Have Opposite Effect If There’s Already Litter

It’s the time of year when some people are in such a rush that they just disregard signs.  These same people also seem oblivious to trash receptacles.

Sometimes the blue handicap space zone does not stop some people from parking there.  These same people seem to have no problem tossing their litter in the parking lot.  So would a no-littering sign help solve the problem.  Not if the below research is any indication.

This from The Harvard Daily Stat:
When an anti-littering sign appeared on an alley wall, the proportion of people who littered there declined from 47% to 39% if the alley was clean—but rose from 61% to 70% if the alley was already strewn with soda cans and candy wrappers, say Kees Keizer, Siegwart Lindenberg, and Linda Steg of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. A prohibition sign can become counterproductive if people see that its instructions have already been ignored, the researchers say.
Source: The reversal effect of prohibition signs

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