Do as we say and as we do: The interplay ofdescriptive and injunctive group norms in the attitude–behaviour relationship Journal Article Summary
Smith, J.R. &Louis, W.R. (2008).British Journal of Social Psychology, 47, 647–666 a. The paper investigates the reasons behind discrepancies between attitudes and behaviour by observing how social factors impact upon attitude behaviour relationships. It was predicted that supportive descriptive and injunctive norms would increase engagement levels of behaviour whereas unsupportive descriptive and injunctive norms would decrease engagement levels.
b. Cialdini’s findings indicate that norms can be categorised into two groups: injunctive- attitudes people approve of and descriptive- actions performed by people. Knowing that descriptive and injunctive norms have unique effects on behaviour, experimenters are able to determine the independent variables. Cialdini also introduces the concept of norm salience which states that norms only impact on behaviour when descriptive and injunctive norms are clearly illustrated. This highlights the need to make norms salient when conducting the experiment therefore maximising results.
c. Research from Terry and Hogg (1996) from the social identity approach proposes that group norms influence thinking and behaviour particularly if individuals belong to an in-group norm. Individuals who want to psychologically belong to their in-group would feel obliged to adopt the thoughts and behaviours of the in-group. Therefore it can be concluded that in-group norms determine the ideas and behaviours of members.
d. Experimenters investigated the impact of descriptive and injunctive in-group norms by showing students supportive and unsupportive information for political action and assessing their attitudes and actions towards political action through a series of questionnaires.
The experiment was an experimental study. The independent variables were the descriptive and...
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