Here is my example.

I read the paper called "Social norms and Energy Conservation" (2010) by Hunt Allcott, about the energy conservation of households by providing them with the amount of energy individual household use and their average neighbor's energy usage. The first thing is this research discover at the first place that household did not use the best efficient method to conserve the energy. Interesting things are 1 ) the adding reference descriptive social norm for society to adjust 2 ) not only people decrease their energy usage toward that descriptive social norms but some who below average adjust toward social norm level.

So what are the another phenomena social norm affect individual decision ?


1 Answer 1


Well, it sounds like the paper is drawing a conclusion between behavioral responses towards energy consumption when they're shown public averages.

There's a problem with that paper -- unless it makes specific reference to this: - How does he/she derive causation between variation in electricity and 'social norms'? I don't see social normality being the primary influence.

Separately there are psychological effects at play like:

• Bystander Effect, Social Loafing, Diffusion, and Moral disengagement

That very much could be at play, confounding the entire study. What if I chose to increase energy expenditures 'just' because I see that the averages aren't 'that bad.'

"Everyone else is saving well, so I can go heavy and not hurt the environment as much..."

This incentive and what I understand as the one described in the paper where people conform to a standard norm are different.

But if you're doing some homework and need some 'answer': there are many, cigarettes are very heavily advocated against right now. Someone would choose to change their habit of smoking because 'it's currently less acceptable.


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