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Using Social Norms to Change Behavior and Increase Sustainability in the Real World: a Systematic Review of the Literature

by 1,2,3,*, 4, 1,5 and 6
1
Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, London WC2A 2AE, UK
2
Faculty of Transport Engineering, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, 10223 Vilnius, Lithuania
3
Behavioural Lab LT, 14184 Vilnius, Lithuania
4
Behavioural Science Lead, Ipsos Healthcare, London E1W 1WY, UK
5
Paris Institute for Advanced Study, 75004 Paris, France
6
EMEA Brand and Consumer Insights, Google, London SW1W 9QT, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5847; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205847
Received: 23 September 2019 / Revised: 14 October 2019 / Accepted: 16 October 2019 / Published: 21 October 2019
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: social norms; social influence; sustainability; installation theory; normative perceptions; behavioral change; intervention; systematic review; field studies social norms; social influence; sustainability; installation theory; normative perceptions; behavioral change; intervention; systematic review; field studies
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MDPI and ACS Style

Yamin, P.; Fei, M.; Lahlou, S.; Levy, S. Using Social Norms to Change Behavior and Increase Sustainability in the Real World: a Systematic Review of the Literature. Sustainability 2019, 11, 5847. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205847

AMA Style

Yamin P, Fei M, Lahlou S, Levy S. Using Social Norms to Change Behavior and Increase Sustainability in the Real World: a Systematic Review of the Literature. Sustainability. 2019; 11(20):5847. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205847

Chicago/Turabian Style

Yamin, Paulius; Fei, Maria; Lahlou, Saadi; Levy, Sara. 2019. "Using Social Norms to Change Behavior and Increase Sustainability in the Real World: a Systematic Review of the Literature" Sustainability 11, no. 20: 5847. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205847

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