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The role of normative prompts and norm support cues in promoting light-switching behavior: A field study

Leoniak, Krzysztof J., Cwalina, Wojciech
Journal of environmental psychology 2019 v.64 pp. 1-11
compliance, field experimentation, men, psychology, women
Positive descriptive norm cues, as well as injunctive norm messages, can enhance the occurrence of turning off the lights in unoccupied rooms. However, the impact of descriptive norm messages as well as the role of congruent or conflicting normative cues have not yet been verified in this particular context. Two field experiments compared the effectiveness of three experimental prompts (injunctive norm vs. descriptive norm vs. request only) on behavioral measures (Study 1, N = 710; Study 2, N = 1792) of light-switching behavior. Both studies revealed that in men's restrooms, an injunctive norm prompt produced higher compliance rates. In Study 2, the influence of a descriptive norm prompt depended on the occurrence of congruent or conflicting cues in men's restrooms, while in women's restrooms, both types of normative messages generated equal rates of compliance independently of norm-conflicting cues. The presented examination adds to the focus theory of normative conduct.