The tired and the blind. The effect of cognitive load on social norms
Ramírez Ramírez, Diego Sebastián
In this study, we conducted a laboratory experiment to examine the effects of increasing the cognitive load over rule-following propensity , normative expectations, and personal normative beliefs. We vary the intensity of the cognitive load that individuals were exposed to before they performed rule-following and social norm-eliciting propensity tasks. We find that subjects in the high cognitive load condition are less prone to completely break the rule and engage in less extreme behaviors. We find a different composition of types of personal normative beliefs due to the high cognitive load condition. In particular, we see a decrease in individuals with very strict (i.e., deontic) types and an increase in non-standard types of personal normative beliefs. There are no effects on the normative expectations.