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Dictator Game Giving: The Importance of Descriptive versus Injunctive Norms.

Raihani, NJ; McAuliffe, K; (2014) Dictator Game Giving: The Importance of Descriptive versus Injunctive Norms. PLoS One , 9 (12) , Article e113826. 10.1371/journal.pone.0113826. Green open access

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Abstract

Human behaviour is influenced by social norms but norms can entail two types of information. Descriptive norms refer to what others do in this context, while injunctive norms refer to what ought to be done to ensure social approval. In many real-world situations these norms are often presented concurrently meaning that their independent effects on behaviour are difficult to establish. Here we used an online Dictator Game to test how descriptive and injunctive norms would influence dictator donations when presented independently of one another. In addition, we varied the cost of complying with the norm: By stating that $0.20 or $0.50 cent donations from a $1 stake were normal or suggested, respectively. Specifying a higher target amount was associated with increased mean donation size. In contrast to previous studies, descriptive norms did not seem to influence giving behaviour in this context, whereas injunctive norms were associated with increased likelihood to give at least the target amount to the partner. This raises the question of whether injunctive norms might be more effective than descriptive norms at promoting prosocial behaviour in other settings.

Type: Article
Title: Dictator Game Giving: The Importance of Descriptive versus Injunctive Norms.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113826
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0113826
Language: English
Additional information: © 2014 Raihani, McAuliffe. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1458400
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