Norm Violation Assignment
Spring 2012 – Dr. Hitlan
DUE FRIDAY MARCH 30, 2012
Norm Violation Assignment:
To explore the power of social norms, you are invited to complete this participant-observation assignment.
Part I: Violate a Social Norm
As mentioned in your readings, norms are prescriptions for accepted or expected behaviors. Your assignment is to violate one of the five norms listed below:
1. Sing loudly on a public bus, subway, or train.
2. Position yourself six inches from an acquaintance's nose during a conversation.
3. Stand on your chair in a restaurant and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
4. Continuously jump up and down while waiting in a check-out line at a grocery store.
5. Get into an elevator that is crowded with strangers, and after the doors close, introduce yourself to the group.
PLEASE READ BEFORE STARTING: You may also violate any other norm you choose, as long as you don't risk harming yourself or others. For example, you should not do anything that involves breaking a law, disrupting a class or public event, sexual behavior or sexually explicit speech, taking something that is not yours, or saying something that is threatening or hurtful to others -- such norm violations will result in a score of zero.
Part II: Write About Your Experience
Turn in a description of the norm you violated, the way you felt, and the reactions people had to you (limited in length to two typewritten double-spaced pages using 1" margins and 12-point font). For example, you might describe whether the experience was uncomfortable, fun, liberating, scary, or something else. Or you might discuss the psychology of other people's reactions to you.
Important Note: This assignment is intended to be engaging and informative, but you can opt out of it if you prefer. If at any point you prefer not to complete an assignment (or if your attempt to complete it is unsuccessful), you can still receive full credit by turning in a two-page report discussing the barriers that prevented you from carrying out the assignment.