Red flags in our brain? The influence of social norms on cognitive error-detection

Illustratie van het brein

When organisational rules are violated, it are often individuals who are held responsible—neglecting the influence of the social context on rule-breaking behaviour. Sanctioning an individual’s bad behaviour does not change an unethical organisational culture, but what does? To address this question, it is important to investigate both how social group norms affect individual behaviour, as well as the (subconscious) cognitive processes underlying this behaviour. In this research project, we examine to what extent social norms affect self-reported importance of rule compliance, rule-violating behaviour, and the associated error-detection in the brain. Do employees deliberately violate the rules, to stay loyal and conform to the social norms among their colleagues? Or does rule-breaking behaviour occur, because the social norms at the workplace have normalised the behavior - causing employees to become unaware that their behaviour goes against policy and violations become unnoticed?


This project is funded by CCV (Centre for Crime Prevention and Safety) - Program ‘Handhaving en Gedrag’.

Researchers involved