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Abstract

Social norms are the glue that holds society together, yet our knowledge of them remains heavily intellectually siloed. This article provides an interdisciplinary review of the emerging field of norm dynamics by integrating research across the social sciences through a cultural-evolutionary lens. After reviewing key distinctions in theory and method, we discuss research on norm psychology—the neural and cognitive underpinnings of social norm learning and acquisition. We then overview how norms emerge and spread through intergenerational transmission, social networks, and group-level ecological and historical factors. Next, we discuss multilevel factors that lead norms to persist, change, or erode over time. We also consider cultural mismatches that can arise when a changing environment leads once-beneficial norms to become maladaptive. Finally, we discuss potential future research directions and the implications of norm dynamics for theory and policy.

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2024-01-18
2024-07-23
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