– brain games Social norms are what groups use for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. They are often transmitted by non-verbal behavior (getting a dirty look when you act outside the norm, for example). For this assignment, you must break a norm--i.e., not conform to some social expectation. It is up to you what norm you break--you can do a behavior that is non-normative across our culture, e.g., facing the back rather than front of an elevator when riding it, or something that is non-normative among some smaller group of which you are a member. Examples of social norms in the US: Leaving at least 15% tip for a waiter/waitress Not burping in public Say “please” and “thank you” Avoid PDA Washing your hands after using the restroom Waiting your turn in line Brushing your teeth every day Don’t pick your nose Leaving personal space You must break this norm in the presence of others and it should be something that you don’t normally do. Rules for norm violating: Be safe. This rule trumps all other rules. **** The behavior you choose may be non-normative across our culture or a small group (like your family) You many not harm anyone, including yourself. This includes getting yourself in trouble. It also includes intentionally humiliating someone else. **** You may NOT intentionally disrupt your classes. **** You may NOT break any laws. **** Only break one norm at a time. While violating the norm, act totally normally in every other way. Violating many norms at once simply makes you look like a crazy teenager, thus you aren’t really breaking a norm (people expect teens to act crazy sometimes). Do something you wouldn’t normally do. **** Violation of these rules will result in a failing grade (and possible disciplinary consequences) You must break 5 social norms and write about your experience. Try to be clever in your observations by looking for the non-obvious. Depending on the norm you choose to break, you may want to break the norm several times or consistently for a time period so that you can get a variety of reactions to report. Examples include: Break rules of social distance: sit down with a stranger at a restaurant even if other tables are clearly available, speak to an acquaintance at an unusually small distance, stand right next to another person in an elevator when only two of you are there, hold hands with a friend of the
same sex, surprise a same-sex friend with a kiss on the cheek, stand too close to someone in line in front of you, ask someone to help you with something you can do for yourself. Go to a movie alone, and sit right next to a stranger (even better, engage the person in conversation). Be unusually helpful: offer to help people at Best Buy, buy a small present and give it to a barely known acquaintance, pass out nickels to strangers on the street. Break rules for eye contact: Make too much eye contact (stare) or too little, talk to others while looking at their forehead or ear, stare at strangers walking past on the sidewalk, blink excessively. Dress inappropriately: dress for a different season, dress too fancy or too casual Break norms of social etiquette: cut into the middle of a line, ask someone you don’t know for his/her seat in a public place, randomly greet people as they walk into school with a handshake and a “good morning” Go to a restaurant, order and eat food in the wrong order: desert first, then dinner, finally an appetizer Follow the norms of another culture: try bargaining for the price of something, bow to people or kiss them on the cheek to greet them, hand people things with two hands, look at the floor when shaking hands with someone. Pretend to have gas in public. Skip everywhere you go, instead of walking.
What you did that was breaking each social norm and when. Be specific! 2.
People’s reactions to you for each broken norm (you might need to have someone with you to help you observe). 3.
How did you feel while you were breaking each norm? How did you feel about people’s reactions to you? Think about the norms you chose to break…why are they norms? What value do they serve? “People watch” in a public place (ex. Mall or a restaurant) until you find at least five people breaking different social norms. What were they? List the approximate age and gender of who broke the norms. Using at least five social psychology terms, explain why people choose to abide by social norms and why people choose to break them.
Five social norms broken: 25 pts 2.
Five responses to your broken norms: 20 pts Overall reaction of how you felt while breaking the norms: 15 pts 4.
Five broken social norms observed: 25 pts One page explanation using at least 5 social psychology terms: 15 pts