Under the peer influence: Heavy drinking beliefs in college students

Humans are social beings. Behavior that we perceive in others largely shapes our own and creates social norms within communities. A good example of this is heavy drinking in college: students tend to drink based on how much they believe their fellow students drink, and as you might guess, these beliefs are wrong much of the time. Still, social networks are complex, and not everyone in our lives holds the same influence. This week, The DRAM reviews a study by Melissa Cox and her colleagues that investigated how misperceptions of peers’ drinking relate to heavy drinking habits among first-year college students.

What was the research question?
Do first-year college students drink more heavily if they misperceive how heavily their friends and peers drink?
Read this week’s review.