Norms In An Elevator Observation

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Norms and values dominate every society around the world and dictate the subsequent culture within it. A norm can be defined as the expected ways of behavior within a society. The disruption of these norms is quite obvious, whether it be a casual or more serious offense. Society tends to overlook the norms that dictate the behavior in an elevator. Participants A and B entered elevators in two resident halls located at Saint Mary’s College in order to observe the behavior of others. While breaking a norm in the elevator setting, the participants were able to observe the negative and confused reactions from others in the elevator. Moreover, these pessimistic responses of others in the situation contribute to the pressure on individuals to conform…show more content…
By using a random sample where everyone had an equal chance of taking the elevator, the participants were able to find reactions that represented the group. In the first study, Participant A sat on the floor of the elevator in Le Mans Hall. Participant A sat in the elevator from the basement to the fourth floor in order to gain the maximum amount of observers along the way. Participant B noticed that some women in the elevator were quietly laughing at Participant A, but did not say anything audible about the norm that was broken. However, once Participant A left the elevator, several students commented on how “weird” Participant A was for sitting in the elevator. The verbal and nonverbal reactions to the disruptive behavior in the elevator serve as a perfect example of ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism can be defined as when an individual views one’s own culture as superior to another culture and subsequently judges the other culture as “inferior.” By both breaking and conforming to the norms of elevator behavior simultaneously, the participants were able to observe the confused feelings of others present and use a sociological lens to recognize the ethnocentrism present as…show more content…
Again, the participant repeated the process, breaking the norm from the bottom floor to the top floor to maximize the number of observers. In this second study, the observers were more vocal with their feelings about elevator norms being broken. Yet again, ethnocentric thinking was practiced when one woman commented “What is wrong with her?” and another “Why would she do that?” Even though there were no serious sanctions in place for breaking the norm of sitting in an elevator, others who were surrounding the disruption still felt the need to vocally address their confusion and dissatisfaction with the breaking of the

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