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Contribution Details

Type Journal Article
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title Working-Together Normative Appeals: Normative appeals motivate people to contribute to collective action problems more when they invite people to work together toward a common goal
Organization Unit
  • Lauren Howe
  • Priyanka B Carr
  • Gregory M Walton
Item Subtype Original Work
Refereed Yes
Status Published in final form
  • English
Journal Title Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Publisher American Psychological Association
Geographical Reach international
ISSN 0022-3514
Volume 121
Number 2
Page Range 215 - 238
Date 2021
Abstract Text A common method to promote behavior change, particularly in contexts related to collective action, is to reference a social norm and ask people to comply with it. We argue that such appeals will be more effective when they couch the norm as an invitation to work with others toward a common goal. In six experiments, we found that working-together normative appeals, which invited people to “join in” and “do it together,” increased interest in (Experiments 1, 4, and 5) and actual charitable giving (Experiment 2); reduced paper-towel use in public restrooms (Experiment 3); and increased interest in reducing personal carbon emissions (Experiment 6). By contrast, normative-information appeals, which included the same normative information but no reference to working together, did not affect interest or behavior. Mediation analyses suggest that working-together normative appeals were more effective because they fostered a feeling in participants that they were working together with others, which increased motivation, while inducing less social pressure, which undermined effectiveness. Results show how the very collective nature of collective action problems can be leveraged to promote personal behavior change and help solve societal problems.
Related URLs
Digital Object Identifier 10.1037/pspa0000278
Other Identification Number merlin-id:21316
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