The Social Norms Essay
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I chose to break the social norm in an elevator as my experiment. I chose this so that I could actually combine two social norms into one. I chose to stand backwards in the elevator and when there were numerous people in the elevator, but I thought it would be more interesting if I stood very close to the person instead of facing backwards when there was just one person in the elevator. The independent variables in my experiment were gender of the person that I stood close to, the amount of time we had together in the elevator, and of coarse the number of people in the elevator and how many stops were made.
I began to measure the way people reacted to when I invaded their space in an elevator, which was nearly empty. I also measured what would happen when a person would be just getting on and my back would be towards them. My hypothesis was that the people that I stood close to would actually move because they had space to, and could actually ask me what I was doing. My other hypothesis is that no one would react to my facing the opposite direction but they would stare and stare hard.
When the elevator doors opened and I noticed that only one person was on the elevator walked right in with an abrupt step. Usually the person was on either the right side or the left and never really in the middle. I then proceeded to hit a floor number just higher than theirs and stand directly next to them, but the whole while keeping silent. To no surprise the people became uncomfortable and tried to in an unobvious way move away. They tended to look at me very annoyed and some would actually blatantly reject me. Most of the people that were rude were women about the same age as I was. I think that they may have thought that I was mocking them in some way.
Now when I faced backwards in the elevator people seemed not to make very many gestures or movement. They although did stare and wonder what I was doing like my hypothesis stated but they never really did much. It wasn’t until people began to get on while I was already in the backwards position did it occur. The ones getting on the elevator steered clear of my area even when the other side was crowded, they tended to single me out from the rest and make sure that I was not next to them. Later in the experiment a man said to me, “are you doing that for some kind of experiment”, and of coarse I said yes and decided that it was time for me to end my experimentation. I was actually able to accept my hypothesis, although it was somewhat of an easy hypothesis to generate. I think it may have been a little different if the environment I was in was not on campus. The actual size of the elevator limited my results and the fact that I was doing the experimentation in the PLC limited what kind of people I had to be with. If I were to do the experiment again I would go to a hotel where there are all sorts of different people.