Presentation on theme: "Social norms and pro-environmental action"— Presentation transcript:
1 Social norms and pro-environmental action Janet K. Swim, Ph.D.The Pennsylvania State University
2 Norms Injunctive norms Norms can be personal or social Descriptive normsActual behaviors; Base ratesExpectations about average typical behaviorsInjunctive normsBehaviors one ought or ideally would doOften have a moral townNorms can be personal or socialGroup Identification increases the influence of social norms
3 Following social norms satisfies psychological goals (Cialdini & Trost, 1998) 1) Effective action:Doing things accurately2) Fitting in:Gain approval and acceptance of others3) Manage self-concept:Avoid self-conception as being different, deviant, or intransigent.
4 Social norms and pro-environmental behaviors Descriptive norms more powerful thanInjunctive normsEconomic gainsTrue, even though most do not anticipate this (Nolan, Cialdini et al.)
5 Research questionsIs there evidence for importance of injunctive norms?Cultural and individual Values as social norms.Enforcing and following gender role normsWhat is the role of interpersonal communication in the transmission, maintenance and changing of social norms?
6 Cultural valuesHegemonic valuesUnquestioned value structures that support the dominance of particular groupsHierarchy > egalitarianismMastery > harmonyEcofeminismSame values that support masculinity (hegemonic masculinity) support dominance of nature
7 Correlation among country level data Cultural valuesCorrelation among country level data-.49Status of womenHegemony:Hierarchy > EgalitarianismMastery > Harmony.28*-.28Vitality of eco-systemControl for each Nation’s GDPBloodhart & Swim, 2010
8 Cultural valuesDo countries with different degrees of hegemony have citizens with different degrees of environmental concerns and behaviors?German versus the United StatesSwim & Becker, 2012
9 Cultural values Germany United States B = -.42, p < .05 in SEM Yale Environmental Performance Index, specifically the subscale of ecosystem vitalityGHG Emissions (50%); Agriculture (8%), Fisheries (8%) Forestry (8%) , Biodiversity (8%), Air pollution (8%), Water Quality (8%)B = -.42, p < .05 in SEM
10 Behavioral differences Cultural valuesBehavioral differencesSwim & Becker, 2012
11 Explaining behavioral differences via environmental concerns Cultural valuesExplaining behavioral differences via environmental concernsEgoisticConcerns-.17**-.11*Country0 = U.S.1 = GermansPro-EnvbehaviorsBiosphericconcerns.31**.11*
13 Predicting policy support Gender role normsPredicting policy supportGender differences in environmental concern and pro-environmental attitudesConsistent with gender role normsCould lead to greater policy support among women than menNational Opinion ResearchSporadic gender differencesPerhaps policies are gendered?
14 Gender role consistency Gender role normsGender role consistencyPreference for consistencyEspecially in menEspecially when gender and/or gender role norms are important
15 Gender role normsSample 1:Gender norms: expectations for gender differences in endorsement of 34 policiesSample 2:Rate preferences for policiesComplete measures of likelihood to conform to gender role normsGender role identity
16 Women: Gender identity Gender role normsResultsMen:Gender identitySupport Policies expected to be endorsed by men more so than endorsed by womenWomen: Gender identity
17 Communication of norms 1) Interpersonal communication2) Social networks
18 Interpersonal communication: Approving other’s behaviorsAdmonishing other’s behaviorsIgnoring other’s behaviorsRewards are more potent than punishments at molding behaviors.Preference for positive over negative reactionsAvoid negative messaging (e.g., Moser)Fear the fearAvoid the guiltIndividuals are more comfortable with approval than admonishments (Nolan, 2012)Self-regulation processes guide behaviorsGuilt signals failure to meet expectations, responsibilities or goalsGuilt leads to efforts to undo moral violations
19 Effect of feedback on subsequent behavior? Interpersonal communicationEffect of feedback on subsequent behavior?StairsElevators“Oh, you took the elevator? Most people take the stairs. Taking the elevator wastes a lot of electricity and is bad for the environment.”“I’m glad you took the stairs… most people take the elevator. Taking the stairs saves a lot of electricity and helps the environment.”
20 Dependent measure: Go up stairs Interpersonal communicationDependent measure: Go up stairsInteraction F(1, 207) = 8.48, p = .004 eta = .04
21 Dependent measure: Lights and monitor off (Behavioral spillover) Interpersonal communicationDependent measure: Lights and monitor off (Behavioral spillover)Feedback: p = .09 Behavior down: p = .03
22 Social networking: Work in progress Social NetworksSocial networking: Work in progressSharing knowledge, motivation, and skillsInfluence of connection on perceived normsNetworks: Bonding and Bridging within social networksEco-reps and energy challenge in residence hallsFriendship and peer networks among employees in AquariumsInstitutionalizing communication in religious organizations via “creation care committees”
23 Summary/ConclusionsCulture sets the context for defining social normsE.g., through Cultural values & Gender role normsInterpersonal processesEnforce social normsAnticipate that social network characteristics of individuals & groups will influence perceptions & transmission of social norms
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