Injunctive Norms vs Descriptive Norms in Social Psychology
In social psychology, norms are the unwritten rules and expectations that govern behaviour within a group or society. Norms can be classified into two types: injunctive norms and descriptive norms.
Injunctive norms refer to the attitudes and expectations of others towards a particular behaviour. They are the “should” or “ought to” norms that dictate what is acceptable or not acceptable within a group or society. Injunctive norms are often enforced through social approval or disapproval, and individuals may conform to these norms in order to gain approval or avoid disapproval from others.
Descriptive norms, on the other hand, refer to the actual behaviour of others within a group or society. These norms describe what is typically done or not done within a particular context. Descriptive norms are often used as a reference point for individual behaviour, and individuals may conform to these norms in order to fit in with the group or avoid standing out as different.
Injunctive norms and descriptive norms can both play a role in shaping behaviour within a group or society. Injunctive norms can be seen as the “rules” that dictate what is acceptable behaviour, while descriptive norms provide a reference point for how others are behaving. However, the influence of these two types of norms can vary depending on the context and the individual. For example, an individual may be more likely to conform to injunctive norms in a formal setting where social approval or disapproval is more explicit, while they may be more influenced by descriptive norms in a more casual setting where the expectations of others are less clear.
Overall, both injunctive norms and descriptive norms play important roles in shaping behaviour within a group or society. Understanding these norms can help individuals navigate social situations and make decisions about their own behaviour.