Dynamic NormsOpen Access

Dynamic Norms

We’re more likely to change if we can see a new behavior developing

Whereas social norms tell us what others do now, dynamic norms tell us that new behaviors are coming, compelling us to join the movement too.

Loschelder et al (2019). Dynamic norms drive sustainable consumption: Norm-based nudging helps…avoid disposable cups. Journal of Economic Psychology.

The study

Setup

23,946 cafe hot drink sales were studied over 14 weeks. For the last 4 weeks, customers were shown a sign stating that “guests are changing their behavior and more and more are switching from the to-go cup to a sustainable alternative. Take part in this: choose a sustainable cup and help to protect the environment.”

Results

Results showed that customers used 17.3% more reusable mugs over to-go cups after dynamic nudging.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

Drive change by showing relative growth.

New behaviors tend to start small, so stating absolute percentages isn’t persuasive. Instead, reframe the change as a dynamic movement increasing over time to create a means to 'pre-conform' with this inevitable future (Sparkman & Walton, 2017).

Takeaway image

Bolster with the 25% Rule...

...where new behaviors tend to become the norm once at least a quarter of a group adopt them. Boost change success by recruiting a group of change-makers to create, broadcast and maintain this initial effort.

Takeaway image

Combine existing financial nudges with dynamic norms.

The cafe in the study was already charging €0.10 for a takeaway cup but they were able to improve behavior even further with this cheap, efficient and new nudging method...and so can you.

Takeaway image
Takeaway image
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Dynamic Norms

Dynamic Norms

We’re more likely to change if we can see a new behavior developing

Whereas social norms tell us what others do now, dynamic norms tell us that new behaviors are coming, compelling us to join the movement too.

The study

Setup

23,946 cafe hot drink sales were studied over 14 weeks. For the last 4 weeks, customers were shown a sign stating that “guests are changing their behavior and more and more are switching from the to-go cup to a sustainable alternative. Take part in this: choose a sustainable cup and help to protect the environment.”

Results

Results showed that customers used 17.3% more reusable mugs over to-go cups after dynamic nudging.

study graph
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In detail

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Open access, foundational Nuggets

Scarcity

Scarcity

We value things more when they’re in limited supply

Social Proof

Social Proof

We copy the behaviors of others, especially in unfamiliar situations

Prospect Theory

Prospect Theory

A loss hurts more than an equal gain feels good

Reciprocity

Reciprocity

We’re hardwired to return kindness received

Framing

Framing

We make very different decisions based on how a fact is presented

Loss Aversion

Loss Aversion

We feel more negative when losing something than positive when we gain it

Default Effect

Default Effect

We tend to accept the option pre-chosen for us

Anchoring

Anchoring

What we see first affects our judgement of everything thereafter

Fast & Slow Thinking

Fast & Slow Thinking

We make knee-jerk spontaneous decisions that can cause regretful damage

Dynamic Norms

Dynamic Norms

We’re more likely to change if we can see a new behavior developing

Salience

Salience

Our choices are determined by the information we're shown

Connected to

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