2016 Volume 32 Issue 2 Pages 104-114
This study investigated how social norms are maintained in societies with different degrees of relational mobility. We hypothesized that (1) in high relational mobility societies, where they need to present their attractiveness to be chosen as a relational partner, people would follow social norms when they thought it would earn them a positive reputation from others; (2) in low relational mobility societies, where they need to avoid isolation in closed relationships, people would follow social norms when they thought they would be rejected by others if they did not. We also examined to what extent their reputation estimation was accurate. In particular, normative aspects of participation in community activities were investigated using a social survey. As we predicted, the more the respondents in low relational mobility societies feared rejection by others, the more they followed norms regarding participation in community activities. They tended to assume that others would give a lower evaluation to a nonparticipant than they do, which means that they may maintain the norms as a result of “pluralistic ignorance.” On the other hand, we did not find a significant interaction effect between perceived relational mobility and expectation of a positive reputation. This was explained by the respondents’ tendency to underestimate the possibility of earning a positive reputation by participating in community activities.