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Following the trend or resisting the change? The role of dynamic norms in shaping political attitudes

Eraslan, Ertugrul Gazi


Ertugrul Gazi Eraslan


Huseyin Cakal

Masi Noor


This thesis examines the effects of dynamic norm interventions, which highlight changing societal attitudes and behaviour over time, on political attitudes and behavioural tendencies through twelve experiments (three pilot and nine main experiments). The research tests the differential impacts of exposing individuals to dynamic norms versus traditional static prevalence norms on outcomes including policy support, collective action intentions, and donation to a non-profit organisation (resource allocation task). Dynamic norms convey information that attitudes and behavioural tendencies related to a political issue, like environmentalism or refugee rights, are increasing substantially in society. Static norms simply communicate current prevalence.
The studies recruit adult samples of UK residents online and randomly assign them to view dynamic, static, or no-norm messages embedded in passages about political topics. Key outcome variables assessed after exposure include collective action intentions, policy support, donations to political groups, and resource allocations to causes. The studies also tested psychological mechanisms like cognitive (pre-conformity, identity compatibility, efficacy beliefs, and injunctive norms), attitudinal (attitudes and perceived threats from an outgroup), and affective (emotions) processes. The results demonstrate that across contexts, exposure to dynamic norms consistently increased political engagement intentions and actions compared to static and no-norm conditions. Dynamic norms also encouraged counter-attitudinal shifts towards political actions incongruent with individuals' original views. Multiple studies provide evidence that dynamic norms influence political outcomes via cognitive, attitudinal, and affective processes.
These findings have potential theoretical and practical implications. Theoretically, the research elucidates the psychological processes through which dynamic norms motivate political participation and expands dynamic norm theory into intergroup and social contexts. Practically, the studies suggest applications for dynamic norm messaging in intervention strategies to increase civic engagement, pro-outgroup donations., support for policies, and social change advocacy. Overall, the thesis presents evidence that highlighting evolving social trends can shape political attitudes and behavioural tendencies.


Eraslan, E. G. (2024). Following the trend or resisting the change? The role of dynamic norms in shaping political attitudes. (Thesis). Keele University. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jun 21, 2024
Public URL
Additional Information Embargo on access until 3 June 2026 - The thesis is due for publication, or the author is actively seeking to publish this material.
Award Date 2024-06

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