Here you will find sample press reports covering various aspects of
social norms. Coverage is arranged chronologically. For more information or additional samples of press coverage, please contact us directly at (434) 982-6688, or by e-mail.
Peer Pressure Pushes People to Go Green
by Sarah Gardner, National Public Radio
A growing body of research shows the most effective way to get people to go green is not through do-good appeals, but rather peer pressure...
When People Cheat on Wall Street
by Kai Rysdall, National Public Radio
Does endlessly hearing about the likes of Bernie Madoff affect everyone else's sense of right and wrong? Kai Ryssdal speaks with behavioral economist Dan Ariely, who's been doing some research into that topic...
University Uses 'Social Norming' to Curb Drinking
by Brenda Wilson, National Public Radio
... what's UVa's secret? It's called "social norming", and it relies on peer counseling, social events, and solid information to challenge misperceptions students have about drinking...
The Power of Normal: U.Va. changing misperceptions, behavior with social norms campaigns
By Lee Graves, Senior Editor, University of Virginia Alumni Magazine
Every month or so, hundreds of copies of a unique publication arrive in first-year dorms around U.Va. Volunteers post the one page journal, bubbling with a lively array of news and information, in places where it can't be ignored...
May 1, 2008
UH Boozers Fall Short in Surveys: UH Students Drink Less in U.S. College Survey
By Craig Gima, Honolulu Star- Bulletin
New surveys suggest that students at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, including freshmen and sophomores living in the dorms, party with alcohol less and experience fewer consequences from drinking alcohol than students at other universities...
Six Universities Say Social Norms Approach Helps Them Combat High-Risk Drinking
By Eric Hoover, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Proponents of social norms strategies to reduce high-risk drinking have new data to support their approach. During a teleconference on Thursday that was sponsored by the National Social Norms Resource Center, officials of six colleges discussed the findings of multi-year social norms campaigns. All said the programs were helping them change student's perceptions of drinking on their campuses in an effort to reduce alcohol abuse and its negative effects...
Norming May Be Strategy for Good Behavior
By Karen Thomas, USA Today
impression that the norm for today's young people is drunken debauchery
simply isn't true. Most kids are OK. It's the best-kept secret on college
campuses, and a growing number of experts believe that keeping all this
good news quiet is doing far more harm than good."
is made of the social norm campaigns at the universities of Arizona,
North Carolina, and Wisconsin-Oshkosh, as well as throughout the 23-campus
California State University System. The successful intervention at the
DeKalb and Sycamore (IL) high schools is also noted.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): Task Force
Report on College Drinking
On April 9, 2002,
the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) issued
Force Report on College Drinking. In its section of the final report,
the Panel on Prevention and Treatment noted that "several institutions
that persistently communicated accurate norms have experienced reductions
of up to 20 percent in high-risk drinking over a relatively short period
of time. Together these findings provide strong support for the potential
impact of the social norms approach."
In addition, social
norms is among the so-called Tier 1 strategies recommended because of
its proven effectiveness. "Norms or value clarification,"
it points out, "examines students' perceptions about the acceptability
of abusive drinking behavior on campus and uses data to refute beliefs
about the tolerance for this behavior as well as beliefs about the number
of students who drink excessively and the amounts of alcohol they consume."
one of the scientific papers commissioned by the NIAAA Task Force and
published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol (Supplement No. 14, March
2002) deals specifically with social norms:
Norms and the Prevention of Alcohol Misuse in College Contexts
By Dr. H. Wesley Perkins
This article provides
a review of conceptual and empirical studies on the role of social norms
in college student alcohol use and in prevention strategies to counter
misuse. The normative influences of various constituencies serving as
reference groups for students are examined as possible factors influencing
students' drinking behavior.
Although the Task
Force's own news
release acknowledges that "previous studies have shown that
most students drink moderately or abstain," most coverage of the
report has focused on several of its estimates--derived "by integrating
a number of national databases"--of the negative consequences experienced
by college students when they drink.
Below you will find
a number of items (presented in chronological order) that have appeared
in the national and regional press regarding the NIAAA report.
Drinking Study Is Intoxicating Scam
By Steven Milloy, Fox News
news about excessive college drinking is another shocking example of
statistical deception by shameless activists manipulating a media panting
Social Norms Marketing
By Mark Frauenfelder, The New York Times Magazine
The New York
Times Magazine has selected Social Norms as one of the "80 ideas
that shook the world (or at least jostled it a little) in 2001."
How to Manage Teen Drinking (The Smart Way)
By Jeffrey Kluger, Time Magazine
Although the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has
documented that "across every age group we've become an ever more
sober society over the past two decades," concern over "youthful
drinking" persists. This article discusses, in part, the role that
colleges and college administrators have in addressing this concern,
and notes the appeal and effectiveness of the social norms approach.
The work of H. Wesley Perkins and David Craig at Hobart and William
Smith Colleges receives special focus. Also mentioned are the social
norms interventions at Northern Illinois University, Western Washington
University, and the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Finding Good in 'Normal'
By Lynn Smith, The Los Angeles Times
As the subtitle of this article states: "Students are getting a
surprise lesson: binge drinking and other risky behaviors aren't popular."
This lengthy and glowing article notes the successful social norms interventions
at a number of institutions, among them: Cal Poly Pomona, Northern Illinois
University, the University of Arizona, Hobart and William Smith Colleges,
and Western Washington University. Experts in the social norms field
who are quoted include: H. Wesley Perkins, Pat Fabiano, and Michael
Colleges Shift Emphasis on Drinking
By Kate Zernike, The New York Times
An excellent summary of the reasons for the growing interest in the
social norms approach. "The premises of the new strategy,"
the author notes, "are that binge drinking has been exaggerated,
and that by harping on it, colleges have pushed students into thinking
that heavy drinking fits the model of the American college student."