Social Norms And Its Effects On Our Lives

1786 Words8 Pages
Social norms are the guidelines by which we, as a culture, look to for our actions. Using the norms to guide our social interactions in order to avoid embarrassment or ridicule. Different cultures have different norms, depending on their values, such a thing as personal space can be defined in different incriminates, and some may think it is six inches while others view it as three feet. These norms may even vary from situation to situation, such as an empty bus vs a crowded bus, it may not be socially acceptable to take a seat right next to someone on an empty bus, but it is socially acceptable to do so on a crowded bus. Social norms are relative depending on what social groups one is a part of one will prescribe to a different set of norms. Social norms have many different effects on our everyday lives, they can be used to foster pro-social behavior or they can be manipulated for wrongful purposes, and when breaking a social norm one will not always receive a negative reaction. There are two types of social norms; injunctive and descriptive norms. Injunctive norms are personal perceptions of what we think will be approved or disapproved by others, while descriptive norms are how we think people will truly behave in certain situations, regardless of approval or disapproval by others. We use these norms to regulate our behavior, for example if the injunctive norm is that one should drink 8 glasses of water a day, but one’s descriptive norm is that no one actually does, that can be contradictory. Studies have shown that injunctive norms can be more powerful that descriptive norms in promoting positive behavior changes, although both can arouse conformity within groups (Aronson, Wilson &, Akert, 2007, 222). Using a descriptive norm... ... middle of paper ... ...levant in our everyday lives it is important to note how they can foster pro-social behavior, as well as be manipulated, and how breaking a norm does not always foster a negative reaction. Influencing behavior by use of manipulation of social norms has been used in favorable and unfavorable ways. Being conscious of the boomerang effect and using specific tools to remind people when they are already doing a good thing, we can influence better behavior. We’ve come to be more accepting and make social strides from changing our normative behavior towards groups of people, but also terrible things such as the holocaust have happened in part from the strategic manipulation of social norms. When looking at social norms we need to remember that we are not bound to these norms, and sometimes it is good to reevaluate which norms are still relevant, and which we should abandon.

More about Social Norms And Its Effects On Our Lives

Open Document