The Power of Norms with Everyday Interaction Introduction Norms like customs, beliefs, and language form part of the routine living while referring to culture, which bonds the society together. Norms are followed by members of the overall society while interacting with one another on different formal and informal platforms…
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Norms play a crucial part in societal contexts. From students’ perspective, it is very important to respect the teachers and take permission before coming in or going out of the class. It is a formal behavior pattern that the society takes for granted. An experiment on breaking a norm can bring out the genuine reaction of people around. Experiment To know the power of norms in society, an experiment on not heeding to the norm was made by sitting on the floor of the elevator while there were many people standing over there. Generally when we use the elevator, it hardly takes some seconds to reach the desired floor where others may also be in the line to step out. The norm, therefore, is to keep standing until you step out of the elevator to reach where you want to. Nobody tries to be informal as the approaching destination is away by some seconds. I decided to test the patience of others by planning to break the norm of standing in the elevator and sat down on the floor of the elevator. It required some courage to break this norm. As I entered the elevator, I noticed there were four people already standing next to one another. There was sufficient space left in the center of the room to accommodate four more people but as I was the only one to enter from the fourth floor, I pressed the button for eleventh floor and without wasting time sat down crossed-legged. The initial shyness to conduct the experiment had withered away. I maintained a tough look on my face to notice the varied reactions of the people around. I did not feel any sense of uneasiness because once the step taken courageously, I didn’t want to show it on my face. Peoples’ Reactions As I stated there were four other people using the elevator. They were all from different age-groups. One gentleman was an octogenarian. He stared at me wildly. I saw expressions of hatred and judged from his expressions that he could react violently any time but to my surprise he started staring at other people, expecting that they would make some expressions and possibly act. Actually, I got the feeling that others were showing shyness to speak to me that I was coming in their way of going out of the elevator. Perhaps, they did not want to make it an issue although the looks they exchanged with each other on my sitting on the floor made it clear that they were displeased at my norm-breaking. Analysis of Peoples’ Reaction I would say it was a mixed reaction. Only the elderly person scoffed at my action. Rest of the three individuals preferred to remain silent although I could clearly see that their behavior was affected by my norm breaking. The meaning behind their silent reactions, as I could understand, was that the phase of bearing my tyranny of sorts was of some seconds and they did not want to create a scene over there. My personal opinion on their reaction is that whatever the elderly person expressed through his behavior was right. The rest of the people tried to ignore my bad behavior just because it was just momentary because as the elevator stopped all of them made their way and stepped out of the elevator. Their reaction would have affected my behavior had I broken the norm honestly. I kept my poise just because it was a class experiment. Conclusion The experiment indicates the importance of adhering to social norms. We should as member of our class and community earnestly and in good spirit as good citizens should follow the social norms and
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