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Using social norms to change behavior and increase sustainability in the real world: A systematic review of the literature

Yamin Slotkus, Paulius, Fei, Maria, Lahlou, Saadi ORCID: 0000-0001-8114-7271 and Levy, Sara (2019) Using social norms to change behavior and increase sustainability in the real world: A systematic review of the literature. Sustainability, 11 (20). ISSN 2071-1050

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Identification Number: 10.3390/su11205847


Behavioral change interventions based on social norms have proven to be a popular and cost-effective way in which both researchers and practitioners attempt to transform behavior in order to increase environmental and social sustainability in real-world contexts. In this paper, we present a systematic review of over 90 empirical studies that have applied behavioral change interventions based on social norms in field settings. Building on previous research about the sources of information that people use to understand social norms and other local determinants of behavior, we propose a framework organized along two axes that describe intervention context (situated interventions applied in the same context where the target behavior happens versus remote interventions that are applied away from that context) and type of normative information leveraged (interventions that provide summary information about a group versus interventions that expose participants to the opinions and behaviors of others). We also illustrate successful applications for each dimension, as well as the social, psychological and physical determinants of behavior that were leveraged to support change. Finally, based on our results, we discuss some of the elements and practical mechanisms that can be used by both researchers and practitioners to design more integral, effective and sustainable social norm intervention in the real world.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © the author(s)
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2019 11:48
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2022 15:00

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