Description

While there are scenarios in which we try to act differently than others, and people who revel in being individualistic, for the most part, we act similarly to those around us. This is mostly rational; it is often beneficial to follow norms and appear to be like others. However, this is only one factor, and people often choose to follow social norms when there are other factors that make another choice better. This bias is notable for its applicability in interventions. By simply discussing the choices of ones neighbors, fellow citizens, or other social group, it is possible to change someone’s decisions and actions.

Example

People who needed to renew their license were divided into two groups. One group was given a simple reminder, while the other group was given a reminder and told that most people renewed their license. Those given the decond message weer 6% more likely to renew.

Further Reading

The Decision Lab

The Decision Lab is a think tank focused on creating positive impact in the public and private sectors by applying behavioral science.

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