Little is known about the personality and cognitive traits that shape adolescents’ sensitivity to social norms. Further, few studies have harnessed novel empirical tools to elicit sensitivity to social norms among adolescent populations. This paper examines the association between sensitivity to norms and various personality and cognitive traits using an incentivised rule-following task grounded in Game Theory. Cross-sectional data were obtained from 1274 adolescents. Self-administered questionnaires were used to measure personality traits as well as other psychosocial characteristics. Incentivised rule-following experiments gauged sensitivity to social norms. A series of multilevel mixed effects ordered logistic regression models were employed to assess the association between sensitivity to norms and the personality and cognitive traits. The results highlighted statistically significant univariate associations between the personality and cognitive traits and sensitivity to norms. However, in the multivariate adjusted model, the only factor associated with sensitivity to norms was gender. The gender-stratified analyses revealed differences in the personality and cognitive traits associated with sensitivity to norms across genders. For males need to belong was significantly negatively associated with sensitivity to norms in the multivariate model. By comparison, emotional stability was negatively associated with sensitivity to norms for females. This study reinforced the findings from an earlier study and suggested female adolescents had higher levels of sensitivity to norms. The results indicated no consistent pattern between sensitivity to norms and the personality and cognitive traits. Our findings provide a basis for further empirical research on a relatively nascent construct, and bring a fresh perspective to the question of norm-following preferences among this age group.
Tate, C., Kumar, R., Murray, J. M., Sanchez-Franco, S., Sarmiento, O. L., Montgomery, S. C., Zhou, H., Ramalingam, A., Krupka, E., Kimbrough, E., Kee, F., & Hunter, R. (2022). The personality and cognitive traits associated with adolescents’ sensitivity to social norms. Scientific Reports, 12, 15247. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-18829-x
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