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Social Psychology: The Power of Peer Pressure

Background Information: After analyzing 65,525 transactions from in-flight purchases, a Stanford researcher has determined that if someone next to you on a plane makes a purchase, you are 30 percent more likely to buy something yourself. Peer effects are much harder to detect in other settings, such as classrooms, where there are many possible variables that can confound a study. In order to try to counteract this issue, researchers encouraged eleventh-graders to sign up for a free SAT class. When students knew that their peers would be aware of who signed up for the free SAT class, honors students were 25 percent more likely to sign up for the free SAT class. Non-honors students, who knew that peers would be judging them, were 25 percent less likely to sign up.

QUESTION:  If you wanted to motivate students in an honors classroom to sign up for a volunteer project, how could you use peer effects to do that?

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