Social Norms Essay

564 words - 3 pages

Jingru WuReaction Paper 5Talking about the reconstructive power of social norms, Wanke states "although providing descriptive normative information may decrease undesirable behaviors for individuals who perform such behavior at a rate above the norm, the same message may actually serve to increase the same undesirable behaviors for individuals who perform such behaviors at a rate below the norm" (Wanke, 2009). For example, according to daily news, seeing just one cigarette advertisement immediately increases someone's desire to smoke by 22% (Murray, 2013). An advice from Wanke to reduce this backfire effect of descriptive norms is to add injunctive normative information. However, those anti-smoking advertisements, which link smoking with ...view middle of the document...

For example, if you want to persuade students to have flu shots, you would better say, "only a few student go to have flu shots, and they are good" rather than "many students go to have flu shots, and they are good". On the other hand, you can also say," few students don't go to have flu shots are bad" rather than "many students don't go to have flu shots, and they are bad".Back to the hotel example that Wanke uses in the article, if the hotel persuades guests to reuse the towels by saying "We have 40% guests who reuse the towels, they are environment protector", is it going to be useful? Similarly, if the hotel persuades guests by saying "80% people do not know how to protect environment, let's start with reusing the towels", is it going to be useful? Therefore, I believe that instead of considering social norms itself, message framing is also an important factor in consuming behaviors.ReferencesBlanton, H., Stuart, A., & Van den Eijnden, R. (2001). An introduction to deviance-regulation theory: the effect of behavioral norms on message framing. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 848-858.Brooks, J. (n.d.). How anti smoking ads make you smoke more, waste money and gain weight. Retrieved September 30, 2014, from, N. & Cialdini R. (2009). Normative influences on consumption and conservation behaviors. In M. Wanke (Eds.), Social Psychology of Consumer Behaviors(273-296). New York, NY: Psychology Press.Murray, R. (2013, November 18). Cigarette ads have heavy influence on college students, increase urge to smoke by 22% . Retrieved September 30, 2014, from

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