It’s all about social norms! We can say that we have been immersed in it since we were very young and that our minds are steeped in it. For Sheriff, in 1965, social norms bring together all the rules and prescriptions relating to the way of perceiving, thinking, feeling and acting. They are scales of reference, or evaluation, which define a margin of conduct, attitude and opinion that is permissible and reprehensible.
For Newcomb, in 1970, a norm is the shared acceptance of a rule which is a prescription regarding how to perceive, think, feel and act. For Di Giaconda, in 1998, norms are thus ways of judging, or behaving, which are socially determined and shared.
The concept of social normes
As Nicole Dubois shows, can take on several meanings within the scientific literature in social psychology: a so-called prescriptive meaning and a so-called descriptive meaning. For Nicole Dubois, we can say that what is normative, a norm, is what conforms to the greatest number. This is the descriptive aspect of the concept, that is, what translates obedience to the rules.
The prescriptive aspect of the concept gives the idea that this conformity, or this obedience, is socially valid, desirable, desirable… So the norm adds a character of desirability and therefore remains a concept to be differentiated from other concepts that are: the law, rules, regulations, customs, customs and social habits, for example. So let’s retain the idea with a standard, there is something desirable, valid, desirable.
Features now a bit more social norm. Social norms come from a group, from a society. They are therefore the object of social learning, of social transmission. From then on, they come to be accepted and even desired by the majority of the members of the group and they tell us what should or should not be done. Details here that when a member of the group accepts a norm, he thinks he are on the side of the truth, whereas a norm in itself has no criterion of truth. A standard is absolutely not universal. It can vary independently of the group in which one is located. It can vary moreover from one group to another; it can also vary from one era to another.
We will now focus on the social function of the norm
A norm is considered to have the social function of guiding behavior and allowing the behavior of others to be predicted. There is therefore, thanks to the standards, a reduction in social confusion and uncertainty among individuals.
There is also, thanks to the norms, a stability of the group, an order, which allows the group to function and to avoid conflicts. Norms also ensure a certain harmony in the group and promote its cohesion. For example, in social psychology, it is common to differentiate between two types of norms.