The Cognitive and Emotional Components of Behavior Norms in Outdoor Recreation

Heywood, J. (2002). The cognitive and emotional components of behavior norms in outdoor recreation. Leisure Sciences, 24(3-4), 271-281. doi:10.1080/01490400290050727.

Behavioral norms consist of 2 components: a cognitive component of obligation that is the memory repository of social standards, and an emotional component of sanctions that are the feelings and physiological states that result when actual behavior is consistent or not consistent with the obligation. This article analyzes the cognitive and emotional components of norms identified in 3 studies of behaviors (littering, controlling dogs while cross country skiing, and bikers and skaters warning when passing) in outdoor recreation settings. All 3 studies provide data on obligations to behave a particular way and internal and informal sanctions for correct or incorrect behavior. Obligations for all the behaviors were highly crystallized and were not statistically different. Internal sanctions were shame and guilt, and informal sanction was embarrassment. The intensity of the norms was determined by summing individuals' responses for shame, guilt, and embarrassment. The power and prevalence of the norms were determined by cross tabulating obligations by intensities. Intensity, power, and prevalence were very high for littering and failing to control your dog while skiing, but were very low for skaters and bikers failing to warn when passing slower users on a multiple use trail.

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