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Monday, 9 July 2012

Ideas For Breaking Social Norms For Student Psychology Experiments

Ideas For Breaking Social Norms For Student Psychology Experiments"I have to break a social norm for my psych class. Any suggestions?"

Every psychology course has this experiment they make you do, where you have to go out and break social norms and then observe people's reactions. And I always see students posting somewhere asking what should they do, because they can't think of anything.

I'm an expert at living this way. Here's a list of ideas:

Be a guy and hate sports.

Actively try to talk other men out of their sports fandom.

Don't watch TV in public places.

Such as at bars, restaurants, and break areas. Instead, take the seat directly under the TV or as close as possible, facing away, and actively watch the people watching the TV. Study them like primates at the zoo. You'll even discover that an audience is twice as fascinating as anything that's on the tube.

Be online and use correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

Almost counts as a taboo these days. At least half the readers so far have hated me a little bit, but they can't quite put their finger on why.

Show up at any gambling establishment and loudly proclaim the true mathematical odds to the games.

You can do this at a counter selling lotto tickets, too. Casino security will throw you out.

Pick up trash in public places.

Like, a busy street intersection, a fairgrounds, a public park, the beach, etc. Patrol it. If you see someone litter, don't even confront them about it, just pick the trash up and put it in the receptacle like that was your job.

Stand by crosswalk buttons, elevator buttons, and door buttons and push them for everybody who walks up.

Just like you were there for that purpose. Another fun one is stay in the restroom and whenever anybody's done washing their hands, do whatever you have to do to get the damned paper towel dispenser to cough up a few sheets and have it ready to hand them by the time they get there.

Take up origami. Make it your calling card.

Leave little paper froggies and cranes along with your tip for the waitress. Hand out paper flowers in public places. It's like being a performing street mime, but you're the origami person. Take requests. Fascinate kids in the waiting room at the doctor's office. Re-purpose your junk mail.

Go outside dressed for summer in sub-freezing temperatures.

It helps if you're a native northerner and are used to the cold. Barefoot footprints in the snow are amazing. Shorts and a Tshirt everywhere.

If you live in Las Vegas, take a cocktail in a glass with you everywhere you go.

Las Vegas is one drunk city and I did this when I lived there - I specify Las Vegas because of their extra-lax laws on public drinking. I'm talking a real drink, with ice cubes and a swizzle stick. It doesn't even get much of a reaction. Don't drive, of course. The store, the bank, your landlord's office when you drop off the rent check, at the laundromat, etc. Heck, it's hard to find someplace that isn't selling alcohol already.

Spend the day talking in a different voice.

If you can do voices or at least accents, do a munchkin or Tweety or Elmer Fudd all day. Keep it up even after you're getting tired of it yourself.

If you're any good at acting, act dumber than you really are.

Spend the day role-playing as Forest Gump, or somebody at about the same IQ level. Don't do this if you're easily depressed, because it's really sad to see how much more open people are to you if they think you're dumb. Women flirt more, people trust you and confide in you more, everyone's guard is down, and you get praised outrageously for completing the simplest task if it appeared that you're struggling with it.

Dance, sing, skip, and otherwise frolic everywhere you go.

People will inevitably ask you why. Just smile like a million bucks and say "I'm being happy!" It's amazing how upset people get when they see somebody being happy in public for no reason! You'd think people were ready to call the police or something.

Drive the speed limit.

In fact, obey every traffic law to the letter. Every other driver on the road will be foaming with rage at you. In city driving, stoplights are actually timed to work with speed limits, so the idiot who's screeching and weaving through traffic will just get to be the first one to stop at the next stoplight and wait the longest. Pull up beside them again at your sedate 35MPH pace. Wave to them like you're the Queen of England.

Use an alternative operating system.

I run Linux. Furthermore, when the subject comes up, if I possibly can get away with it I act like I'm the majority and it's the people who use Windows that are on a freaky fringe cult.

Be super-conscious of other people's clothes.

We all compliment somebody else's shirt or something. This is taking it to the next level. Really look at what people are wearing and try to analyze the logic. Are they making a statement, obeying a custom, being boring and practical, or just throwing on whatever was between them and the door that morning? Evaluate it out loud and ask them if you're right. Engage people in conversation about it - what was going thrnugh their heads when they picked out that outfit? How did they end up with this item? Why did they buy it? Why did they wear black today? Do they think the green in this blouse goes with their eyes? Are they wearing "fall colors"? Do they really like that team? Where did this stain come from? Do they know this button's missing? And so on. Watch out, women will think a man is a creep for ogling them.

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