Social Norms Essay

Words: 1832
Pages: 8

Attempts to use social norms marketing to change behaviour have had mixed success. Drawing on empirical research and psychological theory discuss when and how social norms marketing has been successful (or not) in changing behaviour.

"A norm is like any other psychological phenomena, a construct that has widerspread use age because it helps describe and explain human behaviour" Cialdini & Trost (1998: 151).

'Social norms are rules and standards that are understood by members of a group, they identity belief systems about our perceptions of how or not to behave. They are used to guide behaviour without the force of laws' Prislin & Wood (2008). Social norms help us to apprehend uneasiness. They attribute to our judge ment of how
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Therefore they are able to openly drink openly and legally whereas in the US the consent is 21. By having the opportunity to observe their peers drinking behaviour at first hand UK students will observe their peers alcohol consumption" - John McAlaney & John McMahon (December 2007).
According to Scott Walters " college students tend to mispercieve the drinking norms on campus, thinking that other students drink more than they actually do". This could be a reason in why binge drinking is so high.

As we can see there are many studies who would approve of social norms marketing calling it successful. However, a study carried out in order to protect the petrified wood from the forest have had mixed reviews. Cialdini et al (2006) carried out a study using injunctive and descriptive norms in order to prevent the theft of petrified wood from the National Park. He placed various injunctive and descriptive messages across the park in order to change behaviour. An example of the injunctive would be " Please do not remove the petrified wood in the park" and then an example of descriptive "Many past visitors have removed the petrified wood from the park". From this study we can see that by using descriptive messages the theft of the wood increased, therefore its not successful. In fact because we follow social norms we are more likely to adapt to the norm, seeing the descriptive message 'many past visitors have removed' gives individuals the idea that this is the