Breaking Social Norms
Social Norms are unwritten rules about how to behave. They provide us with an expected idea of how to behave in a particular social group or culture. For example, we expect students to arrive to lesson on time and complete their work.
The idea of norms provides a key to understanding social influence in general and conformity in particular. Social norms are the accepted standards of behavior of social groups. These groups range from friendships to even work groups. There are norms defining appropriate behavior for every social group. For example, students, neighbors and patients in a hospital are all aware of the norms governing behavior, and as the individual moves from one group to another, their behavior changes accordingly.
The social science experiment I conducted involved me violating a social norm and observing the reactions I would get for doing something considered “not normal” by societal standards. For my experiment, I decided to stand the wrong way in an elevator. For an elevator, it is usually proper to face front, stand away from strangers, and not to look at others. I feel like this norm exists because elevators are enclosed spaces that involve strangers. There is always an awkward tension between people in an elevator because the people are only in there so they can get to their own destination. Also, no one ever cares to start a conversation because the elevator ride is only a few seconds. So for my experiment, I decided to test how people would react if I actually stood the wrong way.
I wanted to do this experiment where there was a lot of people riding elevators throughout the day. I thought a great place would be a hospital, so I decided to go to Regional Hospital of Scranton. I was really nervous beforehand because breaking a social norm can be awkward and embarrassing. I actually ended up riding the elevator facing the wrong way for about fifteen to twenty minutes. A lot of people came in...