Social Norm Project
For this project, you must break a norm--i.e., not conform to some
social expectation. It is up to you what norm you break--you can do a
behavior that is non-normative across our culture, e.g., facing the back
rather than front of an elevator when riding it, or something that is
non-normative among some smaller group of which you are a member.
GUIDELINES: You must break this norm in the presence of others and it should be
something that you have not or don’t normally do. You may not harm others, nor may you
break any school rules or do anything that would otherwise get you in trouble. You may not
break a norm during any of your classes, unless you have permission from your teacher(s).
Depending on the norm you choose to break, you may want to break the norm several times or
consistently for a time period so that you can get a variety of reactions to report.
What to include in the presentation:
o Title – think of something clever (5 points)
o Poster or PowerPoint – be sure to include images to make it interesting. These can be of
your actual experience, or pictures related to your experience or the location. (10 pts)
o Define “conformity” and “social norm” in your own words (meaning without quoting the
text) and give examples (10 pts)
o Describe the social norm you are breaking and why you think it exists (or the actual reason
for its existence). (20 pts)
o Describe how you broke the norm, meaning describe the following elements of the
1) The situation or setting: where were you, how many people were there, etc. (10 pts)
2) Your behaviors/actions (10 pts)
3) Your feelings before, during and after you broke the norm. If you broke the norm more
than once you may either choose one experience to report or describe the experience
as a whole. (20 pts)
o Describe the reactions of other people who witnessed your behavior (15 pts)
o Presentation Method: If you have the opportunity to video tape all or part of your social
norm experiment, you may present a video tape as part of your presentation. Be sure you
DO NOT violate anyone’s right to privacy (e.g. no filming in bathrooms, private residences,
etc.) or any security regulations in the area you are filming (some locations will not allow
filming on their premises, for example inside movie theaters, at the Galleria. Make sure you
investigate this prior to filming).