When do drivers conform? When do they deviate?

Demir S., DEMİR B., ÖZKAN T.

TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH PART F-TRAFFIC PSYCHOLOGY AND BEHAVIOUR, vol.54, pp.299-310, 2018 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 54
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.trf.2018.02.021
  • Page Numbers: pp.299-310
  • Keywords: Deviance regulation theory, Conformity, Uniqueness, Group benefit, Message framing, NORMATIVE CONFLICT MODEL, SOCIAL-GROUPS, BELT USE, DISSENT, PASSENGERS, PRESSURE, BEHAVIOR, ITEM


Traditional and dominant social influence strategies based on group research aim to motivate people towards compliance with the group norm for behaviours in general and in traffic in particular. Yet, deviance and dissent have the potential to motivate people towards action against group norm, as well. The deviance regulation theory (DRT) proposes that an individual might choose to deviate from the group norm to express his/her uniqueness. In addition, according to the normative conflict model, an individual might deviate because the target behaviour may serve for the group benefit. However, up to date no study has compared behaviours of different nature in terms of conformity and deviance motivations in traffic. The current study explores these motivations in the context of persuasive messages that aim to facilitate picking up hitchhikers, obeying speed limits on campus, and seat belt use, in three different samples. In the first study, we investigated the effectiveness of positive and negative message frames. These messages emphasized the attributes of people on uniqueness or group benefit who pick up or do not pick up hitchhikers with regard to the perceived group norms in a 2 (norm: picking up or not picking up a hitchhiker) by 4 (message frame: positive uniqueness, negative uniqueness, positive group benefit, negative group benefit) design among 249 participants. The results revealed that positive uniqueness frame is effective when the norm is picking up a hitchhiker, but not when the norm is not picking up a hitchhiker. In the second and third studies, we applied a 2 (norm) x 2 (uniqueness message frame: positive and negative) design for speeding on campus and seat belt use with 79 and 144 participants, respectively. The speeding study supports the DRT, as the negative frame in obeying the speed limit norm condition had a stronger effect on reducing speeding than the other conditions. Using seat belt emerged as impervious to norms and evaluation of group members, since none of the conditions differed from each other. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.