ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2021, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (8): 904-918.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00904

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


陈思静1(), 濮雪丽1, 朱玥2, 汪昊1, 刘建伟1   

  1. 1浙江科技学院经济与管理学院, 杭州 310023
    2浙江工商大学工商管理学院, 杭州 310018
  • 收稿日期:2020-11-16 发布日期:2021-06-25
  • 通讯作者: 陈思静
  • 基金资助:

The impact of normative misperception on food waste in dining out: Mechanism analyses and countermeasures

CHEN Sijing1(), PU Xueli1, ZHU Yue2, WANG Hao1, LIU Jianwei1   

  1. 1School of Economics and Management, Zhejiang University of Science and Technology, Hangzhou 310023, China
    2School of Business Administration, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou 310018, China
  • Received:2020-11-16 Published:2021-06-25
  • Contact: CHEN Sijing


规范错觉是指个体的规范感知与实际存在于群体中的社会规范之间存在差异, 规范错觉影响了社会生活的方方面面。对957份问卷调查的分析显示, 人们普遍高估了他人的食物浪费(行为错觉)以及对浪费的赞同程度(态度错觉), 而这两种错觉又加剧了人们自身的浪费行为。中介效应检验显示, 印象管理中的社交性维度部分中介了两种错觉与浪费行为间的关系。两个随机对照实验进一步检验了描述性(命令性)规范信息对行为(态度)错觉的影响, 结果发现, 描述性规范信息降低了行为错觉, 并通过社交性减少了浪费行为; 而命令性规范信息并不改变态度错觉本身, 但通过降低态度错觉对浪费的影响而减少了浪费行为。上述结果意味着两种规范信息尽管高度相似, 但其作用机制却可能不同, 同时这一发现也为政策制定者提出了两种干预途径。

关键词: 规范错觉, 社会规范, 食物浪费, 印象管理, 描述性规范, 命令性规范


Normative misperception refers to the cognitive bias between an individual’s normative perception and people’s true views of the behaviors or attitudes of others. The occurrence of normative misperception has been proven to be universal, and it occurs when people mistakenly estimate the benefit of a certain attitude and/or behavior. Scholars have begun to draw on normative misperception to explain humans’ social behavior. However, whether different types of norm misperception (behavioral vs. attitudinal misperception) have different effects on behavior, and whether different normative information (descriptive vs. injunctive normative information) diverges in alleviating the normative misperception and its influence on behavior remain unclear. We also ask whether the theory of impression management could be applied to normative misperception in exploring the psychological mechanism underlying its impact on behavior. The current study aims to address these issues with food waste in dining out as the target behavior.
Study 1 was a correlational study based a survey carried out among residents from six provinces situated in the western, central, and eastern regions of China. We measured the independent variables (behavioral misperception and attitudinal misperception), dependent variable (food wasting behavior during the most recent eating out), and mediators (three dimensions of impression evaluation: sociability, morality, and competence) with scales developed in previous literature. After excluding outliers and participants who failed the attention check question, we collected 957 valid data. In study 2, two two-factorial experiments (descriptive normative vs. non-normative information in experiment 1; injunctive normative vs. non-normative information in experiment 2) were conducted to test the effects of descriptive (injunctive) normative information on behavioral (attitudinal) misperception. We also ran bootstrap analysis separately for each set of data to determine the relationship among normative information, misperception, impression evaluation, and food wasting behavior.
The results of study 1 showed that participants tended to overestimate others’ food waste and their approval of wasteful behavior, and both misperceptions had significant positive effects on food waste, implying that these misperceptions not only exist, but also promote people’s food wasting behavior further. The t-test revealed a greater effect on attitudinal misperception as opposed to behavioral misperception on food waste. In addition, as speculated, the sociability dimension of impression evaluation mediated the relationship between both misperceptions and wasteful behavior, whereas the mediating role of morality and competence were not significant. In other words, because participants overestimated others’ wasteful behavior and their degree of approval, they worried that being too economical in public might be considered as being stingy or indecent, and this worry further bred wasteful behavior. Study 2 confirmed the difference between the mechanisms underlying the two types of normative information: descriptive normative information reduced the behavioral misperception itself, creating a new normative perception among the participants and prompting them to switch from complying with the original norm (people generally waste food) to adhering to the new one (people’s wasteful behavior is not as common as imagined), which mitigated misperception’s negative effect on wasteful behavior. On the contrary, injunctive normative information did not decrease the attitudinal misperception itself but rather moderated the relationship between the misperception and behavior: misperception still existed, but its prescriptive power declined.
The findings of this study highlight the importance of considering the distinction between the two types of normative misperception in social norm campaigns, and suggest two possible ways of correcting people’s normative misperception: providing descriptive normative information to decrease people’s behavioral misperception and providing injunctive normative information to ameliorate attitudinal misperception’s detrimental effect on behavior.

Key words: normative misperception, social norm, food waste, impression management, descriptive norm, injunctive norm