Social Norms Experiment


Social Norms Experiment

Your homework is to conduct your own social observation.

First, you have to BREAK A SOCIAL NORM

 Norms are: ”the customary rules of behavior that coordinate our interactions with others.” (Wikipedia). Stick to a folkway! (not a more or a taboo)  Examples of breaking norms: o Order a drink at Starbucks clap heartily for the barista o Stand next someone in line instead of behind them o o Give a very friendly hello to every stranger. Face the wrong way in an elevator o o o o Invade a stranger’s personal space (in an elevator or elsewhere) Eat your food with no silverware Sit on the floor in the middle of a public place (with open seats) Talk/sing to yourself in public; narrate your actions  If you have a different norm to break, ask me before/after class or email me and WAIT FOR MY APPROVAL. ([email protected])  Do not do anything that makes you feel unsafe. Tell your parents your idea ahead of time and get their approval as well. Have them email me with questions.   Do not just do this once! Try it several times over the course of 15-30 minutes. You need to gather a significant amount of data.

Before, during, and after you break the norm, take notes

 You should either take notes sneakily while you conduct the experiment, film your experiment to review later, or write down notes immediately after the experiment ends, before you forget anything. Your notes should address the reactions of people. Do they seem angry, confused, frightened? Are they up front about their feelings or subtler in their reactions? Do they say anything to you? What do they physically do?

After your experiment is over you will write a 1-2 page paper (typed, double-spaced) that meets the following criteria:

 Describe the norm that you violated. How are people expected to act and how did you go against that? Be sure to define “norm” as well.    Describe others’ reactions before, during, and after each violation Describe how you felt breaking the norm and dealing with the reactions What conclusions can you make about this social norm and the reactions of yourself and those around you? o Why do people follow this norm and all social norms? o o What are the consequences to violating norms? What are the benefits of following norms?