Nudging social norms

Changing behaviors may be easier when people see norms changing, Stanford research finds

Whether it be for the environment, one’s health or other important causes, convincing people to adopt new or uncommon behaviors can be difficult. One reason is that societal norms powerfully reinforce the status quo. Stanford researchers suggest a subtle shift in messaging can help. In new research that appeared Sept. 29 in Psychological Science, they find that focusing on how norms are changing can help people alter their behaviors. “One question we’re interested in from a psychological standpoint,” said Gregg Sparkman, a doctoral student in psychology at Stanford and the paper’s lead author, “is how social change happens. What leads people to overturn a status quo?” ….[READ]

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