I study social norms – the unwritten rules and conventions that govern social behavior. I am interested in how people are guided by norms and constrained by norms; how they respond when they feel out of step with prevailing norms; how they determine what the norms of their groups and communities are; and how they react emotionally, cognitively, and behaviorally, to those who violate social norms. Current projects address the following: When do deviates evoke positive emotional responses and what is the nature of those responses? Do people who value independence actually behave independently? Are self-interest and concern for others conflicting motives or can they both be pursued simultaneously? How do people perceive individuals who do not fit easily into single racial or gender categories? I am also interested in the use of norms in interventions designed to change behavior and am currently developing an intervention that combines economic empowerment and social norms of empowerment for women in an attempt to reduce intimate partner violence in Cali, Colombia.
Prentice, D. A. (in press). The psychology of social norms and the promotion of human rights. In R. Goodman, D. Jinks, & A. K. Woods (Eds.), Understanding social action, promoting human rights. New York: Oxford University Press.
Prentice, D. A. (2008). Mobilizing and weakening peer influence as mechanisms for changing behavior: Implications for alcohol intervention programs. In M. J. Prinstein & K. A. Dodge (Eds.), Understanding peer influence in children and adolescents (pp. 161-180). New York: Guilford.
Prentice, D. A., & Miller, D. T. (2006). Essentializing differences between women and men. Psychological Science, 17, 129-135.
Prentice, D. A. (2006). On the distinction between acting like an individual and feeling like an individual. In T. Postmes & J. Jetten (Eds.), Individuality and the group: Advances in social identity (pp. 37-55). London: Sage Publications.
Prentice, D. A. & Carranza, E. (2002). What women and men should be, shouldn't be, are allowed to be, and don't have to be: The contents of prescriptive gender stereotypes. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 26, 269-281.