Normative Social Influence and the Smiley Face

4 04 2007

Over at the We’re Only Human blog (the Association for Psychological Science’s weblog), there’s a good post on application of normative social influence on energy use. Turns out that if you get merely information that you’re consuming more or less than the average household’s energy, you’re likely to move more toward the center — becoming more wasteful if you’re consuming less. But, if you’re consuming less than average, and you’re given a “smiley face” icon instead of the information, then you’ll not become more wasteful…

We’re Only Human…: The Smiley Face Gambit:

Most people want to be normal. We’re not comfortable being on the fringe. (There are deeply disturbed exceptions to every law of human nature, of course.) So when we are given information that underscores our deviancy, the natural impulse is to get ourselves as quickly as we can back toward the center.

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