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Why Norms Matter | Psychology Today


Why Norms Matter

Both historical and present-day examples show us the power of social influence.

From the website, written by Dr. Sanderson:

“I’m delighted to be writing a blog about the power of social influence. As a professor, I teach and conduct research about social norms, meaning the unwritten rules that shape our behavior. But on a more personal note, I see the power of social norms all around us in everyday life — from what we choose to share or not share on social media to whether we step up or stay silent when we witness bad behavior.



I’ll be sharing a post every other Monday. Here are a few of the topics I look forward to addressing in the weeks/months/years ahead:

  • How norms influence eating and exercise behavior, including research I’ve published with my students showing that women often misperceive other women as eating less and exercising more than they themselves do – and the consequences of such perceptions on rates of disordered eating behaviors.
  • Why bad behavior – from bullying to sexual assault to fraternity hazing – persists even when most people in a community don’t approve of such behavior, but (falsely) believe that others do.
  • How we can push prosocial behaviors of all types – from reusing towels in a hotel to increasing voter turnout – by telling people that others support such behaviors.


Psychology Today, current, Catherine A. Sanderson Ph.D.




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•Please check the site regularly for each new topic.  Both the professor and students will find this as a wonderful resource for understanding human behavior.


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