key social psychological principle

Assignment #2 – Break-a-Social-Norm

For this assignment, I want everyone to break a social norm. Then you will discuss how breaking the norm made you feel, and how it might have made other people feel.

Step 1:

First you need to identify a social norm. Some examples are:

• Appearance (you can wear pink slippers to school or around town instead of shoes; put a blue dot on the tip of your nose; wear your shirt backward / inside-out; overdo your makeup)

• Interpersonal Behavior (stand too close or too far away from someone you are talking too; avoid eye contact; scoff at a person’s every comment)

• Social Etiquette (violate elevator norms – that is, instead of turning around to face the elevator doors when they close, face the other people in the elevator and stare them in the eye!; eat with your mouth open; talk loudly in a library; fly a kite inside the mall, something one of my former students actually did!)

• THESE ARE ONLY EXAMPLES. PLEASE TRY TO BE CREATIVE & COME UP WITH SOME ORIGINAL IDEAS ON YOUR OWN. Another one of my former students stood behind people at water fountains chanting “Chug! Chug! Chug!” loudly.

Note: You may want to do the behavior several times in different places to note any interesting patterns. Do people’s reactions may differ as a function of sex, age, location?

Step 2:

Incorporate the following points in a short paper (400 words minimum, 700 words maximum):

1). What implicit norm(s) did you violate? (5 points)

2). Describe how you violated it (them). (9 points)

3). Analyze your thoughts and feelings while you violated the norm(s). (9 points)

4). Analyze what other people were probably thinking about your violation (9 points)

5). Did you gain any insight into your own or others’ behavior? What about the power of the situation? (9 points)

6). Include AT LEAST ONE key social psychological principle in your paper. You may want to include something about role-playing, conformity / nonconformity, normative social influence, cognitive dissonance, self-monitoring, etc. Your choice, but have AT LEAST ONE! (9 points)

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