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Contests versus norms: Implications of contest-based and norm-based intervention techniques

Journal article
Authors Magnus Bergquist
Andreas Nilsson
André Hansla
Published in Frontiers in Psychology
Volume 8
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017....
Keywords Contest, Goals, Intervention, Norm, Pro-environmental behaviors
Subject categories Psychology

Abstract

© 2017 Bergquist, Nilsson and Hansla. Interventions using either contests or norms can promote environmental behavioral change. Yet research on the implications of contest-based and norm-based interventions is lacking. Based on Goal-framing theory, we suggest that a contest-based intervention frames a gain goal promoting intensive but instrumental behavioral engagement. In contrast, the norm-based intervention was expected to frame a normative goal activating normative obligations for targeted and non-targeted behavior and motivation to engage in pro-environmental behaviors in the future. In two studies participants (n = 347) were randomly assigned to either a contest- or a norm-based intervention technique. Participants in the contest showed more intensive engagement in both studies. Participants in the norm-based intervention tended to report higher intentions for future energy conservation (Study 1) and higher personal norms for non-targeted pro-environmental behaviors (Study 2). These findings suggest that contest-based intervention technique frames a gain goal, while norm-based intervention frames a normative goal.

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