Socializing social sampling models: The limits of explaining norm perceptions and biases with sampling from social circles

Helge Giese, Janina Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

People often overestimate the prevalence of unfavorable behavior. To explain these misperceptions, social sampling models propose that individuals infer the social norm from the behavior of their own social circle. We investigated this idea by asking a friendship network of college freshmen to report their own behavior and norm perceptions across eight domains at two timepoints (N = 104). Assessing this complete social network allows to directly test if sampling from the social circle shapes norm perception. Replicating previous findings, freshmen systematically misperceived the average social norm within their cohort. Yet, these misperceptions persisted even when individuals judged their own social circle, indicating that sampling from social circles does not fully explain normative biases. Moreover, cognitive modelling of norm perceptions suggested that individuals unlikely limited their search to their own social circle.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0286304
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding: No. This work was supported by the German Research Foundation [DFG] under Grant 441541975 and FOR2374. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Data Availability: Anonymized data to reproduce the results can be obtained at https://osf.io/x7sek with the doi 10.17605/OSF.IO/X7SEK.

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