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Theory of Normative Social Behavior

  • By: Alisa A. Padon & Rajiv N. Rimal
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Norms are rules of conduct. Norms are not usually written down or codified (as are laws), but they are understood and negotiated through social action. People have all conformed to norms of behavior around them, and usually this turns out in their favor. Watching others helps people to learn which behaviors are successful and which are not. In addition, being part of a group provides people with benefits, and conforming to the group norms is often a prerequisite for acceptance by the group. But what the norms are is not always so clear, nor is how or why people will respond to them. The theory of normative social behavior (TNSB) is a theory of normative influence with significant implications for health communication campaigns.

History of Social ...
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