An Explication of Social Norms

Authors

  • Maria Knight Lapinski,

    Corresponding author
    1. Maria Knight Lapinski (PhD, 2000, Michigan State University) is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Western Michigan University.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Rajiv N. Rimal

    1. Rajiv N. Rimal (PhD, 1995, Stanford University) is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University
    Search for more papers by this author

Comments should be directed to mlapinsk@wmich.edu.

Abstract

This article identifies four factors for consideration in norms-based research to enhance the predictive ability of theoretical models. First, it makes the distinction between perceived and collective norms and between descriptive and injunctive norms. Second, the article addresses the role of important moderators in the relationship between descriptive norms and behaviors, including outcome expectations, group identity, and ego involvement. Third, it discusses the role of both interpersonal and mass communication in normative influences. Lastly, it outlines behavioral attributes that determine susceptibility to normative influences, including behavioral ambiguity and the public or private nature of the behavior.

Ancillary