Social Norms in Gift Giving: A Comprehensive Theory for Giver-Recipient Discrepancies in Gift Selection

2019-08-22T18:09:34Z (GMT) by Julian Givi
In this research, I introduce a novel framework for understanding and predicting asymmetries in gift giving (i.e., disparities between the types of gifts givers give and the ones
recipients prefer to receive). This framework is centered around descriptive and injunctive norms
and is capable of both accounting for previously documented giver-recipient asymmetries and predicting novel ones. Specifically, I demonstrate that gift giving asymmetries are most likely to occur when one of the gifts being considered is less descriptively (but not less injunctively) normative than the other, with givers over-giving the more descriptively normative gift; that gift
giving asymmetries are unlikely to occur either when one of the gifts being considered is less descriptively and injunctively normative than the other, or neither gift being considered is less
descriptively nor injunctively normative than the other; that the reason givers over-give descriptively normative gifts in the first case is because they feel more uncomfortable than recipients when a descriptively non-normative gift is given; and that the reason gift choice asymmetries do not transpire in the latter two cases is because of the absence of any such discomfort disparities.