Culture Ruled By Social Norms

Our culture is ruled by social norms. In America it is expected that we abide by these unwritten laws. Whether viewed by a small group of people or society as a whole, breaking such guidelines could have devastating effects. I choose to do my experiment with the least intimate group of people; total strangers. I feel that testing a norm that is shared by society, as a whole is the only effective way to understand peoples responds. It is customary to go to the end of the line; a norm violation would be to cut in front of people that have been waiting. I did this in very open, public places to record the sanctions people place on me. I did this with total strangers because with a more intimate group one might not get the same caliper of a responds. Often, people who are friends will let them join in line. Rarely do strangers allow someone to break in line, especially when not asked. The following observations and analysis are a result from informal sanctions placed on people who break social norms.

To understand the reactions and behaviors of the people, one has to know why they picked that group of population. In two of my experiments, I purposely pick people of a much older age group then my own.