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Describe a social norm that you have experienced before to change

To explore the power of social norms, you are invited to complete an assignment in which you break a social norm and write a 3-page reflection paper based on the experience. Your paper should a) define and explain social norms, b) describe the social norm you violated including how your social act was a norm violation, c) describe the setting you chose and why d) describe in detail how you felt before, during and after the experience, e) describe in detail how other people responded, and f) in the conclusion describe what you learned about social norms and social control, what you learned about yourself as a social being, and any other observations you may have about the assignment. Have fun with this assignment.

Some examples of norm-breaking you may try:
1) Act like an overnight visitor at your parent’s house or with your roommate.
2) Volunteer to pay more than the posted price for an item in a store.
3) Try to “tip” a friend or family member who does something nice for you.
4) Put headphones on in a public place and start dancing to the music.
5) Get into an elevator and face the back the whole time as other people get on and off.
6) When someone politely asks, “How are you?” or “how’s it going?” respond with a lengthy, detailed response describing your current state of health, recent activities, etc.

Describe a social norm that you have experienced before to change

You may want to break the same norm several times to look at the variation of the reactions.

You may choose any norm, as long as you don’t risk harming yourself or others, and as long as your behavior doesn’t reflect badly on yourself, this class, or the university. Also, you should not do anything that breaks a law, causes any harm, disrupts a class or public event, involves sexual behavior or explicit speech, hurts or threatens others, or includes taking or damaging other people’s property. The goal is to violate a minor social norm and not to break any actual statutes or laws. Breaking social norms may make people uncomfortable, indeed this is part of the experiment, but avoid anything confrontational and if someone asks you to stop, then stop. If you’re not sure, check with your TA.

Papers should be double-spaced with 1 -margins and 12-point font.

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