We can define social norms as follows: a norm translates the impact of the social on behavior and individual judgments. Indeed, social norms are rules or norms of behavior produced by the group that often serve as a guide for the actions of individuals on a daily basis. They will also provide predictions on how others will act and thus promote better coordination in social life. Social norms will therefore manifest themselves through our daily habits, through shared values or beliefs.
What are social norms for? How do we integrate them?
Overall, social norms allow human beings to coexist harmoniously within the same society. Indeed, they will guide behavior in ambiguous situations, facilitate interactions between group members, for example thanks to the norms of reciprocity, rules of good manners, etc. They will also make it possible to protect values or notions favorable to community life such as the norm of wearing clothes in public, the norm of not throwing waste on the ground, the norms in terms of personal hygiene, etc. Social norms would therefore be a phenomenon of adaptation making it possible to regulate and make social life harmonious.
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Social norms will be transmitted through socialization promptings from leaders, but also learning by observation or even social control norms are therefore perpetuated in various ways. For the first cases mentioned, socialization and incentives from governing institutions will be transmitted in interactions with authority figures explicitly with indications, or implicitly. Then, the observation of a person who performs a behavior can encourage us to repeat this behavior and therefore disseminate it to other people. This will be observational learning.
What consequences do social norms have?
Thus, the social norm can be perceived as one of the many influences of the social on our behaviors and our individual judgments. The simple fact of knowing these standards will therefore guide our behavior as much as our attitudes
An amusing example of the influence of social norms is what is called pluralistic ignorance otherwise known as pluralistic ignorance. What is this concept? you will tell me. This is an error that each individual is likely to make when judging the positions of plurality, of the group, in relation to a social norm. The idea is as follows: a person who does not approve of the norm of the group will still behave like the other members because he thinks that the others adhere to this norm. Because individuals think they are the only ones with a deviant opinion, they prefer to act like the majority, because they think that everyone approves of this norm except them. Thus, you may drink alcohol in quantity at a party, thinking that others are drinking because they approve of this norm.