It may happen that a behavior is more under attitudinal than normative control. In this case, if attitudes are amenable to intervention, this would be the most straightforward strategy. However, it may be that attitudes are not amenable to intervention whereas normative beliefs are. Is there a way to increase the importance of normative beliefs? Thus far, there is support in the literature for two ways.
and Hogg (1996) performed
an elegant demonstration that norms have a stronger influence
when people identify strongly with their group (as long as
the group identification is salient). Thus, if one wishes
to intervene on a normative level, it may be useful to find
out the group or groups with which the person strongly identifies.
As long as the group norms are consistent with the direction
of the intervention, increasing the salience of this group
membership is likely to help push the person in that direction.
Priming the collective self
and Finlay (1996) speculated that the influence
of norms could be increased by priming the collective self
(the location in memory that contains thoughts about group
and Trafimow (1998) tested this speculation
by priming the private or collective self and then measured
attitudes, norms, and intentions to use a condom during sexual
intercourse. Compared to when the private self was primed,
the influence of norms was substantially augmented when the
collective self was primed. Thus, this research suggests that
the influence of normative beliefs on behavior can be augmented
if the collective self is primed.