How can we harness the power of social context to create positive, lasting change?
The way we behave is profoundly shaped by our environment, and our environment is in turn a product of our behaviour. If our social norms are currently set to encourage negative practices, from smoking to tax cheating to wasteful energy use, surely they can be overhauled to point us in a better direction. How?
If the strongest predictor of our willingness to adopt positive behaviours is the number of people we know who have already done so, then our power to change lies in one another. Economist Robert Frank encourages us to consider our own role in shifting and shaping our social surroundings, and explores how we can encourage the spread of ideas and choices that benefit everyone: to achieve the scale of change we need to protect our planet and ourselves at this crucial moment in history, he says, we must put peer pressure to work.
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