Renegotiating Identity: Behavioural Decisions Under Circumstances of Incongruent or Ambiguous Information About Group Norms 

Smyth, L. (Australian National University), Kim, J. I. (Australian National University), Dwyer, B. (Australian National University), Grafton, A. (Australian National University) 

This paper reports on 3 studies (N = 253; 302 & 217) that examined participant responses to different patterns of information about group norms. Study 1 examined responses to patterns of conflicting and congruent descriptive and injunctive norms anchored specifically to the target behaviours. Study 2 examined responses to similar patterns of conflicting and congruent norm information about group values and motivations related (but not explicitly linked) to target behaviours. Study 3 examined behavioural decisions when injunctive and descriptive norms are in conflict and further explores the influence of cross-cultural self-construal. All three studies examined the ways in which participant social identification, individual differences and perceptions of the normative information contribute to the strength and direction of the norms inferred and the consequence behavioural intentions. Findings indicate 1) the mere presence of conflicting information shapes the norms inferred, 2) conflicting norms about values and motivations affect behavioural decisions less than behavioural-norms and, 3) there is a need to considered culture-based self-construal in predicting how participants respond to information about group norms. Taken together, these findings have implications for understanding of norm formation and change, particularly in real-world groups where identities are contested and communications about “what we do” are polyvalent. 

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—- TYREE —–
Norms, Stereotyping, and Social Identity