Research Insights: Unintended Byproducts of News Coverage about Noncompliance: A Social Norms Exploration

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May 2021
Social norms used in communications can help/hurt compliance with public health guidelines. In Mexico, a survey experiment was conducted to explore the knowledge-behavior gap in social distancing noncompliance. Despite believing that attending social gatherings is inappropriate, communicating to a person that friends are highly likely to attend the party increases the probability of generalizing others attendance and possibly their own. Believing that it is appropriate to attend a party during COVID-19 and knowing that most friends will go does not make one more likely to guess that a person will attend that party than if one believed it was not appropriate to attend the party. This represents a contradiction.