Replicating the focus theory of normative conduct as tested by Cialdini et al. (1990)

Autor(en): Bergquist, M.
Blumenschein, P.
Karinti, P.
Kohler, J.
Ramos, E. Martins Silva
Rodstrom, J.
Ejelov, E.
Stichwörter: Descriptive norms; Environmental Sciences & Ecology; Environmental Studies; FIELD EXPERIMENT; LITTER; Littering; NORMS; POWER; Psychology; Psychology, Multidisciplinary; Replication; Social norms
Erscheinungsdatum: 2021
Volumen: 74
In developing the focus theory of normative conduct (FTNC), Cialdini et al. (1990), proposed and demonstrated that social anti-littering norms reduced littering in 1) clean environments (signaling that others did not litter) and 2) by adding a single piece of litter to an otherwise clean environment. The assumption was that the single piece of litter would focus people?s attention on the descriptive anti-littering norm, signaling that others did not litter. Despite the profound influence of Cialdini et al.?s (1990) paper, no attempt to replicate this ?single piece of litter? effect has been reported. In two high powered and pre-registered field-experiments and one online experiment (ntotal = 1798), we attempted to replicate and then examine the processes behind both descriptive anti-littering norms and the single piece of litter effect. Results first supported FTNC by replicating less littering in clean compared to littered environments. Second, replications of the single piece of litter effect ran contrary to the original finding, showing as much littering in environments including a single piece of litter as in fully littered environments. Hence, littering increased rather than decreased by adding a single piece of litter in an otherwise clean environment. Supporting some theoretical assumptions of the FTNC, a follow-up experiment showed increased salience of an anti-littering norm and a perceived descriptive norm against littering in a single-piece-oflitter compared to a clean environment. However, in line with findings from our replications, the injunctive antilittering norm appears to weaken as litter accumulates.
ISSN: 02724944
DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2021.101573

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