Social norms and rank-based nudging: Changing willingness to pay for healthy food

Journal article


Aldrovandi, S., Brown, G. D. A. and Wood, A. M. (2015). Social norms and rank-based nudging: Changing willingness to pay for healthy food. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. 21 (3), pp. 242-254. https://doi.org/10.1037/xap0000048
AuthorsAldrovandi, S., Brown, G. D. A. and Wood, A. M.
Abstract

People's evaluations in the domain of healthy eating are at least partly determined by the choice context. We systematically test reference level and rank-based models of relative comparisons against each other and explore their application to social norms nudging, an intervention that aims at influencing consumers' behavior by addressing their inaccurate beliefs about their consumption relative to the consumption of others. Study 1 finds that the rank of a product or behavior among others in the immediate comparison context, rather than its objective attributes, influences its evaluation. Study 2 finds that when a comparator is presented in isolation the same rank-based process occurs based on information retrieved from memory. Study 3 finds that telling people how their consumption ranks within a normative comparison sample increases willingness to pay for a healthy food by over 30% relative to the normal social norms intervention that tells them how they compare to the average. We conclude that social norms interventions should present rank information (e.g., "you are in the most unhealthy 10% of eaters") rather than information relative to the average (e.g., "you consume 500 calories more than the average person").

Year2015
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
Journal citation21 (3), pp. 242-254
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association
ISSN1939-2192
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1037/xap0000048
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1037/xap0000048
Publication dates
Print08 Apr 2015
Publication process dates
Accepted08 Apr 2015
Deposited21 Nov 2023
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Open
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