A new analysis in the journal 科学 shows that 社会规范 can cross tipping points faster if new behaviour is difficult for others to ignore. One example is the rapid change in how people feel about smoking. 照片:. Maslennikov /氮



社会规范 can cross tipping points faster if new behaviour is difficult for others to ignore


  • Group behaviour in societies tends to change slowly but once a change happens it can go quickly
  • New article in 科学 looks at how perceptions on smoking, family size or 中国的缠足 has changed rapidly
  • 研究人员 applied the concept of tipping-points to how groups conform to one behavior, 然后迅速转向一个新的规范. 

Group behaviour in societies tends to change slowly, 有时是好几代人, 即使我们的习惯正在杀死我们. If your 朋友, family and colleagues smoke, the chances are higher that you smoke too.

在一个 文章最近发表于 科学, 一组经济学家, psychologists and ecologists analysed unexpected and rapid changes in 社会规范 that buck this trend. 其中包括平均家庭规模的迅速变化, 在室内吸烟, 中国的缠足, 或者扔在街上. Unravelling the causes of such tipping points might help find solutions for some of the world’s biggest challenges, 例如, 气候变化, 生物多样性丧失和性别平等.



“Humans are social animals and we have good reasons to coordinate our behaviour with others. But 社会规范 can create vicious and virtuous cycles.”

奥斯陆大学的Karine Nyborg是第一作者


The interdisciplinary group of authors, organized by the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics in Stockholm and including several researchers from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, applied the concept of tipping-points to how groups conform to one behavior, 然后迅速转向一个新的规范.

"Indoor smoking and foot-binding are examples of vicious cycles. 如果每个人都喜欢像别人一样行事, 为社会, 经济, 政治或实际原因, our expectations could be self-fulfilling and the result can be harmful to society as a whole.

Virtuous cycles behave in the same way, promoting good habits and healthy lifestyles. Actual cycling in a city like Amsterdam is a good example: everyone conforms and the benefits are shared by society,”作者说 Therese林达尔, a centre researcher and economist at the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics.

当更多的选民是骑自行车的人, there is more political pressure to extend networks of cycle paths: the virtuous cycles are reinforced.


挪威的禁烟法, 瑞典, the UK and elsewhere helped trigger a change in 社会规范 almost overnight, 这组作者说. 虽然正式的执行是有限的, smokers began expecting social sanctions and started to go outside to smoke, 即使是在不受管制的地方,比如私人住宅.

“Very soon 在室内吸烟 became a social taboo,” says co-author and centre PhD student 卡罗琳·希尔. If the smoking ban were removed, the new norm would in all likelihood remain. 但该报纸指出,希腊的禁烟令, 2010年推出, 失败的, possibly due to people’s low expectations that the new rules would affect social disapproval of indoors smoking.

"良性循环出现于, 考虑到所有的因素, individuals tend to want to behave like most others”, Schluter解释说. For example, joint meals are more convenient if those present do not insist on separate diets.

“Vicious cycles can be stable and hard to break,” says Karine Nyborg. “然而, the good thing about them is that they can sometimes be turned into virtuous cycles, 这也可以非常稳定.”


如果一个行为对邻居来说很容易, 朋友, 家人和同事观察, social approval and disapproval can sometimes sustain socially beneficial behaviours. The researchers use kerbside recycling as an example. 类似的, 如果缺水, 郁郁葱葱的绿草坪可能会让人皱眉, which may be an important factor in people’s decision to water a lawn.

Harmful pollution such as carbon dioxide, whether individual or from companies, is largely invisible. 类似的 it is difficult to know if others are misusing antibiotics. If behaviour is out of sight, it is less likely to be affected by social approval and disapproval.

“A potentially powerful role of policy is to provide reasons for people to change their expectations about the behaviour of others,作者总结道.



发表: 2016-10-07


Nyborg, K.、Anderies J.M.丹嫩贝格,.林达尔T., et. al. 2016. 社会规范作为解决方案. 《伟德官网app》杂志2016年10月7日. 第6308期,第354页. 42-43 DOI: 10.1126 /科学.aaf8317