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A Focus Theory of Normative Conduct: Recycling the Concept of Norms to Reduce Littering in Public Places

A Focus Theory of Normative Conduct: Recycling the Concept of Norms to Reduce Littering in Public... Past research has generated mixed support among social scientists for the utility of social norms in accounting for human behavior. We argue that norms do have a substantial impact on human action; however, the impact can only be properly recognized when researchers (a) separate 2 types of norms that at times act antagonistically in a situation—injunctive norms (what most others approve or disapprove) and descriptive norms (what most others do)—and (b) focus Ss' attention principally on the type of norm being studied. In 5 natural settings, focusing Ss on either the descriptive norms or the injunctive norms regarding littering caused the Ss' littering decisions to change only in accord with the dictates of the then more salient type of norm. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Personality and Social Psychology American Psychological Association

A Focus Theory of Normative Conduct: Recycling the Concept of Norms to Reduce Littering in Public Places

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Publisher
American Psychological Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1990 American Psychological Association
ISSN
0022-3514
eISSN
1939-1315
DOI
10.1037/0022-3514.58.6.1015
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Past research has generated mixed support among social scientists for the utility of social norms in accounting for human behavior. We argue that norms do have a substantial impact on human action; however, the impact can only be properly recognized when researchers (a) separate 2 types of norms that at times act antagonistically in a situation—injunctive norms (what most others approve or disapprove) and descriptive norms (what most others do)—and (b) focus Ss' attention principally on the type of norm being studied. In 5 natural settings, focusing Ss on either the descriptive norms or the injunctive norms regarding littering caused the Ss' littering decisions to change only in accord with the dictates of the then more salient type of norm.

Journal

Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyAmerican Psychological Association

Published: Jun 1, 1990

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