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Perceived consensus in estimates of the prevalence of driving errors and violations

Manstead, Antony Stephen Reid, Parker, Dianne, Stradling, Stephen G., Reason, James T. and Baxter, James S. 1992. Perceived consensus in estimates of the prevalence of driving errors and violations. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 22 (7) , pp. 509-530. 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1992.tb00987.x

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Abstract

This paper reports a study of perceptions of the prevalence of certain driving errors and violations in a large (N= 1,656) sample of drivers. In keeping with previous research on perceptions of social consensus, it was predicted that (a) drivers who reported that they themselves regularly commit these errors and violations would make larger estimates of the percentage of other road users who regularly engage in these behaviors, by comparison with drivers who reported that they do not regularly commit these errors and violations; (b) comparison of estimates of social consensus for own behavior with the actual numbers of respondents reporting that they did or did not engage in these behaviors would show that those who do commit the behaviors regularly would overestimate consensus for their position, while those who do not commit the behaviors regularly would underestimate consensus for their position; and (c) these tendencies to overestimate or underestimate actual consensus for own position would be correlated with the perceived offensiveness to others of the behavior concerned, such that departures from actual consensus would be greater for behaviors rated as more offensive. The results provide strong support for the first two predictions but none for the third; indeed, the degree of over- or underestimation tended to be inversely related to offensiveness. In addition, there were unanticipated but highly consistent sex and age differences in perceptions of the prevalence of the target behaviors, with female and younger respondents making higher estimates than male and older respondents, respectively. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:47
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/44744

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