Rajiv N. Rimal
Department of Prevention & Community Health, George Washington University, Washington DC, United States.
Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Background. Scholars in a variety of disciplines are interested in understanding the conditions under which social norms affect human behavior. Following the distinction made between descriptive and injunctive norms by the focus theory of normative conduct, the theory of normative social behavior predicts that the influence of descriptive norms on behavior is moderated by injunctive norms, outcome expectations, and group identity. We extended the theory by testing the proposition that the influence of descriptive norms on behavior would be greater under conditions of greater issue familiarity, defined as the ease with which one can cognitively access the behavior or behavioral issue.