Social Norm Experiment

Topics: Sociology, Heteronormativity, Norm, Person, Psychology, Morality / Pages: 7 (1671 words) / Published: Sep 24th, 2012
In our society, there are many social norms we are expected to abide by. These unwritten rules and standards of behavior often go unnoticed, leaving society to take them for granted. We only become truly aware of the norms of society when they are actually violated. When a violation occurs, those who continue to conform may respond with positive or negative sanctions, such as humor, alarm, irritation, fear, or a wide variety of emotions.
Our society also relies on language as its major bases for communication. Our ability to communicate apart from our words plays an important part in our daily lives. We often disregard the power of body language and our facial gestures. We are expected to portray our body language and facial gestures according to how society sees fit. And when we go against societies wishes in this regard, it can often become uncomfortable. A specific example is when one does not keep their eyes to themselves. Staring is a social taboo, that is typically not accepted.
My hypothesis was the longer a person stares or gawks directly relates to the severity of sanctions the violator receives. I also hypothesized that having another person with me will directly enhance the severity of the persons response. All in all, this should be an exciting and informative way to see how society reacts to the legendary stare down.
I chose to perform the violation of a social norm on strangers in the general public, between the average ages of 20-40. I felt most comfortable choosing this group for it consisted of people I did not know, leaving the sanctions to not affect me as personally. In order to accurately record my data, I selected crowded public places, which allowed me to target a wide variety of people. My goal was to stare at individual strangers until they noticed my glare or made eye contact with me. Then when they expected me to stop and quickly look away, I would violate the norm and continue to fixate. I anticipated that the longer I continued to

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