Inspired to Adopt: The Role of Social Norms in Media Inspiration

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Inspired to Adopt: The Role of Social Norms in Media Inspiration


  • Kevin Kryston Department of Communication, Michigan State University, USA
  • Kaitlin Fitzgerald Department of Communication, University at Buffalo–State University of New York, USA


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Abstract:  We consider the potential for inspirational media content (inspiring videos about dogs) and injunctive norms (social media comments on the videos) to motivate dog adoption behaviors and intentions. In an online experiment, participants were exposed to pretested inspiring (or non-inspiring) videos and social norms cues and were given an opportunity to browse among a series of dogs on a mock adoption website. Participants also indicated their intention to adopt a dog and completed a series of socio-demographic measures. Results indicated that, although both the inspiring videos and the norm cues successfully induced inspiration and perceived injunctive norms, only injunctive norms significantly affected intention to adopt. The effect of norms remained significant when controlling for barriers to adoption such as financial, time, and space considerations. Discussion focuses on implications for inspiring entertainment and social norms theories, and implications for adoptions and other prosocial behaviors.

Keywords:  inspirational media; pet adoption; prosocial behavior; selection behavior; social norms

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v9i2.3805


© Kevin Kryston, Kaitlin Fitzgerald. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.