Relative influence of descriptive and injunctive norms on behavioral intentions
Two studies investigated the moderating effects of a series of variables on the relation between subjective norms and behavioral intentions. Study 1 probed the moderating effects of real vs. hypothetical construal of behavioral engagement on the relation between subjective norms and intentions to donate money. Contrary to hypotheses, expectations of real behavioral engagement attenuated the relation between subjective norms and behavioral intentions. In support of hypotheses, descriptive norms proved to be a more accessible source of normative information. Study 2 probed the moderating effects of experience with the target behavior and framing of the behavior for binge drinking. While there was no effect of experience with the target behavior on the descriptive norm-intention relation, experience served to attenuate the injunctive norm-intention relation. There was no effect framing of the behavior on the relation between subjective norms and behavioral intentions. While increases in social desirability lead to stronger relations between subjective norms and behavioral intentions for donating money, there were no moderating effects of social desirability on the relations when it came to drinking behaviors. There were also no moderating effects of need for cognition on the relations for either behavior.