Group Norms - Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and...

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Unformatted text preview: Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice 1998, Vol. 2, No. 1,48-56 Copyright 1998 by the Educational Publishing Foundation 1089-2699/98/S3.00 Group Norms and Attitude-Behavior Consistency: The Role of Group Salience and Mood Jackie M. Wellen, Michael A. Hogg, and Deborah J. Terry University of Queensland This study tested the social identity-self-categorization theory reconceptualization of the role of norms in attitude-behavior relations. Specifically, the study investigated how the effects of in-group norms on the relationship between people's attitudes and their behavior vary as a function of the salience of group membership and mood. Partici- pants' (N= 131) attitudes toward students being responsible for picking up litter on campus grounds were examined. As expected, the effects of the attitudinal congruency of norms varied as a function of group salience under neutral mood (i.e., deliberative processing) conditions. In-group norms were more influential for high-salience indivi- duals than for low salience individuals in a neutral mood. These findings indicate that in-group norms influence behavioral decision making for individuals high in group salience only when there is an opportunity to carefully process the normative information. When people get together in groups, social interaction produces norms that regulate behav- ior (Sherif, 1936; Turner, 1991), a process that is applicable to small face-to-face groups (e.g., sports teams) in which people interact directly with one another as well as large-scale social categories (e.g., ethnic groups) in which "inter- action" is often indirect and channeled through mass media. Group norms are emergent proper- ties of groups. They influence people even when other group members are not present, and thus they are cognitively stored as attitudes about beliefs, feelings, and behaviors. Exactly how such attitudes influence behavior is one of the chief questions facing contempo- rary social psychology (e.g., Eagly & Chaiken, 1993; Terry & Hogg, in press). Probably the best known attempt at answering this question has been made by the theory of reasoned action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) and its recent extension, the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991). These theories separate attitudes (individual factors) from norms (social factors) Jackie M. Wellen, Michael A. Hogg, and Deborah J. Terry, School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Thanks are due to Anne Wellen, who helped with the collection of the data. Correspondence concerning this article should be ad- dressed to Jackie M. Wellen, School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia. Electronic mail may be sent to
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Group Norms - Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and...

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