The Constructive, Destructive, and Reconstructive Power of Social Norms

  title={The Constructive, Destructive, and Reconstructive Power of Social Norms},
  author={P. Wesley Schultz and Jessica M. Nolan and Robert B. Cialdini and Noah J. Goldstein and Vladas Griskevicius},
  journal={Psychological Science},
  pages={429 - 434}
Despite a long tradition of effectiveness in laboratory tests, normative messages have had mixed success in changing behavior in field contexts, with some studies showing boomerang effects. To test a theoretical account of this inconsistency, we conducted a field experiment in which normative messages were used to promote household energy conservation. As predicted, a descriptive normative message detailing average neighborhood usage produced either desirable energy savings or the undesirable… 

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