Posted on: October 18, 2019 Time to read: 2 minutes
At 3rd Mil, we use evidence-based practices in all of our courses. One of these practices is to address Normative Perceptions.
Normative perceptions is based on the Social Norms Theory, which states that a person’s perception of what is normal behavior affects how they behave. For instance, if a person thinks most of their peers participate in a certain behavior, such as binge drinking, they are more likely to participate in that behavior. On the other hand, if a person believes few of their peers do something, they are less likely to do it also.
Correcting misperceptions of perceived norms will most likely result in a decrease in the problem behavior or an increase in the desired behavior. While this strategy is usually geared towards alcohol and drug use, it can also be applied to a broad array of attitudes and behaviors, including tobacco use, risky sexual behavior, sexual assault, homophobia, academic climate, disordered eating and body image distortion, and prejudices.
This strategy is especially effective in younger individuals because of peer pressure; others’ opinions are highly influential to them. However, normative perceptions is still effective for other age groups.
Our courses correct student perceptions of peer alcohol and drug use to reveal their own misconceptions. We challenge the individual’s perceptions with actual statistics of their peers as a way for them to recognize their own misconceptions. Not everyone is “doing it.” This strategy dispels exaggerated beliefs of peer use by correcting such misconceptions of prevalence.