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Norms::group    Social::behavior    Social::example    Return::people    Other::norms    Which::groups

Shaking hands after a sports match is an example of a social norm.

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Norms are cultural products (including values, customs, and traditions)<ref name="shetif">Sherif, M. (1936). The psychology of social norms. NewYork: Harper.</ref> which represent individuals' basic knowledge of what others do and think that they should do.<ref name="cialdini">Cialdini,R. D. (2003) "Crafting normative messages to protect the environment". Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12(4), 105–109.</ref> Sociologists describe norms as informal understandings that govern individuals' behavior in society.<ref name="marshall">Marshall, G. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology.</ref> On the other hand, social psychology has adopted a more general definition, recognizing smaller group units, such as a team or an office, may also endorse norms separate or in addition to cultural or societal expectations.<ref name="jackson">Jackson, J. (1965). "Structural characteristics of norms". In I.D. Steiner & M. Fishbein (Eds.), Current studies in social psychology (pp. 301-309).</ref> In other words, norms are regarded to exist as collective representations of acceptable group conduct as well as individual perceptions of particular group conduct.<ref name="lapinski & rimal">Lapinski, M. K., & Rimal, R. N. (2005). "An explication of social norms". Communication Theory, 15(2),127–147..</ref>

Furthermore, in the field of social psychology, the roles of norms are emphasized which can guide behavior in a certain situation or environment as "mental representations of appropriate behavior".<ref name="aarts & dijksterhuis/">Aarts, H., & Dijksterhuis, A. (2003). "The silence of the library: Environment, situational norm, and social behavior". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(1), 18–28.</ref> For example, it has been shown that normative messages can promote pro-social behavior, including decreasing alcohol use<ref name="collins, carey, & sliwinski">Collins, S. E., Carey, K. B., & Sliwinski, M. J. (2002). "Mailed personalized normative feedback as a brief intervention for at-risk college drinkers". Journal of the Studies of Alcohol, 63(5), 559–567.</ref> and increasing voter turnout.<ref name="gerber & rogers">Gerber, A. S., & Rogers, T. (2009). "Descriptive social norms and motivation to vote: everybody's voting and so should you". The Journal of Politics, 71(1), 178–191.</ref> According to the psychological definition of social norms' behavioral component, norms have two dimensions: how much a behaviour is exhibited, and how much the group approves of that behavior.<ref name="jackson" /> Both of these dimensions can be used in normative messages to alter norms and subsequently alter behaviors; for example, a message can target the former dimension by describing high levels of voter turnout in order to encourage more turnout. At the same time, norms also can be changed contingent on the observed behavior of others (how much behavior is exhibited). In fact, in Sherif (1936), one confederate was able to affect the development of a group norm related to the autokinetic effect.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Clarify |date=__DATE__ |$B= }}

Norms running counter to the behaviors of the overarching society or culture may be transmitted and maintained within small subgroups of society. For example, Crandall (1988) noted that certain groups (e.g., cheerleading squads, dance troupes, sports teams, sororities) have a rate of bulimia, a publicly recognized life-threatening disease, that is much higher than society as a whole. Social norms have a way of maintaining order and organizing groups.<ref name="haung">Haung, Peter, Wu, Ho-Mou. "More Order without More Law: A Theory of Social Norms and Organizational Cultures". (1994)</ref>


Norm (social) sections
Intro   Social control    Sociology    Emergence and transmission   Deviance from social norms    Focus theory of normative conduct    Types    Mathematical representations of norms    See also    References    Further reading    External links   

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