Giulia Andrighetto

PhD Mälardalen University Social science Year of admission: 2016

How do social norms form and change?
Many societies are dominated by norms that are, in the long run, harmful to their members. These norms include cheating on taxes, paying bribes, and repressing minorities. Giulia Andrighetto will, in an interdisciplinary project, investigate how harmful social norms can be changed in such a population.

Despite the Italian state establishing numerous laws to combat the Mafia, these criminal organizations still have great power in places like Sicily. One important reason for this is that social norms among the populace support the Mafia; a shop-owner who does not acquiesce to the requests of a mafioso may suddenly have no customers and a person who reports such illegal activity to the police may be socially excluded.

A state’s laws are often ineffective if they are not supported by the population’s norms. Dr. Giulia Andrighetto from the European University Institute, Italy and the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies of the Italian National Research Council, will investigate the nature and dynamics of social norms. How can socially undesirable norms survive? What is required to change norms?

Giulia Andrighetto will combine models of decision making drawn from cognitive and social psychology with laboratory experiments and computer simulations. Her aim is to build well-founded models for how norms arise and spread which can be used by policy-makers. As a Wallenberg Academy Fellow, Giulia Andrighetto will work at Mälardalen University.

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Photo: Markus Marcetic