What Do We Look For and What Do We Say? The Complexity of Social Norms Measurement and Message

H. Wesley Perkins, Ph.D., Dept. of Anthropology/Sociology

Hobart & William Smith Colleges


Measurement and message are basic elements of the social norms approach to preventing behavioral risks and promoting positive social change. The model is simple in terms of its fundamental strategy of correcting misperceptions and telling the truth about positive norms. Identifying what is a norm and what measures to use in collecting data, and then crafting messages are complex matters, however. Looking back and looking ahead, Dr. Perkins will explore the most pressing issues of measurement and message in the application of the social norms model to the prevention field.