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Hand washing and social norms

Jan Willem Lindemans University of Pennsylvania Handwashing Behavior Change Think Tank February 11-12, 2014

Background
!! Behavioral Ethics Lab (BeLab) at UPenn !! Philosophy, Politics and Economics !! Director: Prof. Cristina Bicchieri !! Summer School on Social Norms (UPenn/UNICEF)

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Why wash hands?
!! Own health = prudential reason !! Jeopardizing others’ health is bad = moral reason !! Others disapprove of dirty hands = social reason

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Definition of social norm (Bicchieri, 2006)
!! Rule that applies to certain situation !! People follow the rule if
1.! others do so (empirical expectations) 2.! others think they should (normative expectations)

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Empirical expectations

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Buttenheim, Paz-Soldan, Barbu et al. (Bicchieri), 2013
!! Vector control campaign in urban Peru !! Result: participation depends on participation neighbors
!! in uninfested homes !! in new neighborhoods

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Problem: ignorance about others
!! Covertness !! Solution: make behavior visible

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Solution 2: inform people

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Problem 2: people are not following rule
!! Solutions
!! Inform about important people that follow rule !! Create trust that people will follow rule
!! Pledges

!! Different stages: 1) leaders, 2) majority

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Antanas Mockus, Bogotá

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

UNICEF Sudan’s Saleema campaign

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Normative expectations

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Lab experiments
!! Bicchieri & Chavez, 2010; Bicchieri & Xiao, 2009; … !! Rule-following depends on normative expectations !! But empirical expectations more important than normative expectations

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Disgust as disapproval
!! Strong motive: individual + social !! Emotion ! expression
!! Facial !! Verbal: “That’s disgusting!”

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Caution
!! Chhaupadi in Nepal !! Anti-smoking campaign

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Caution
!! Chhaupadi in Nepal !! Anti-smoking campaign !! Hand washing?

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Straying from the path

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Norm evasion
!! When not watched, people evade norm (Bicchieri & Chavez, 2010) !! Solution: make behavior visible

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Norm manipulation
!! When ambiguous, people manipulate norm (Bicchieri & Chavez, 2010) !! Self-serving: lazy, difficult to change habit !! No-harm norm ! is not washing hands really harmful?
!! Ideal: bad behavior ! process ! harmful consequences !! Hand washing: no hand washing ! feces on hands ! viruses and bacteria ! become ill or make somebody else ill ! make yet other people ill

!! Belief that hand washing is harmful: soap hurts baby, spoils the meal, ... !! Deceive others or self; post-hoc rationalization

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Solution: eliminate ambiguity
!! Make invisible visible !! No hand washing ! feces on hands ! viruses and bacteria ! become ill or make somebody else ill ! make yet other people ill

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Inform collectively
Make benefits of HW common knowledge: !! everybody knows it; !! everybody knows that everybody knows it; !! everybody knows that everybody knows that everybody knows it;
!! I know that you know that I know it ! I cannot give excuses

!! …

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Discover collectively
!! (Collective) communication !! Collective observation
!! Microscope !! Smell

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Manipulate norms yourself
!! Very difficult to establish new norm !! Easier to extend existing norm
!! Ambiguity
Every morning, I will brush my teeth.

WILL YOU BE A SUPERKID?

!! Hand washing: (religious) norm of purity, no-harm norm, child-care norms, good manners…
Every day, I will have a bath with soap. I will always wash my hands with soap after going to the toilet.

!! Culture-specific

I will cut my nails short and comb my hair neat.

I will wear clean clothes to school.

I will always wash my hands with soap before eating food.

I will come to school on time.

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

“Ghalfa” (~prostitute) ! “Saleema” (in a God-given condition)

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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms

Conclusion
!! Hand washing as social norm: importance of empirical and normative expectations !! Social-norms approach influences all stages of campaign
!! 1) information stage ! 2) norms stage !! Information or discovery: collective !! Disgust: social

!! Thank you! !! Questions or interested in collaborating? Mail me at lja@sas.upenn.edu (= Lindemans Jan, School of Arts and Sciences, UPenn)
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J. W. Lindemans, 2014, Hand washing and social norms