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Social Norm

Definition 1

Accepted and appropriate rules of behavior for a group.

Source: Behavioral Science Lab, 2017

Definition 2

Social norms signal appropriate behavior and are classed as behavioral expectations or rules within a group of people (Dolan et al., 2010). Social norms of exchange, such as reciprocity, are different from market exchange norms (Ariely, 2008). Normative feedback (e.g. how one’s energy consumption level compares to the regional average) is often used in behavior change programs (Allcott, 2011) and has been particularly effective to prompt pro-environmental behavior (Farrow et al., 2017). This feedback can either be descriptive, representing what most people do for the purpose of comparison (e.g. “The majority of guests in this room reuse their towels”; Goldstein et al., 2008), or injunctive, communicating approved or disapproved behavior (e.g. “Please don’t….”, Cialdini et al., 2006). The latter is often more effective when an undesirable behavior is more prevalent than desirable behavior (Cialdini, 2008).

Source: Behavioral Economics

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