October 9, 2011

Breaking the Norm

For my social psych class, I was told to do a "Break the Norm" paper. Basically, I would have to create an awkward scenario and see how people react to it.

There are a lot of ways to create awkward scenarios, but many people do weird stuff at the elevator that deals getting into other people's personal space or just staring at another person for the longest time.

Discussing my difficulty to create an awkward scenario, I asked people around the office what I should do. Anna didn't say anything, because she's cool like that. Daniel, the intern, a sociology major, felt the same as I did because he had to do that in one of his sociology courses. We were talking about elevator situations, because as psych and sociology majors, we knew how overplayed it was. So, he told me all the weird stuff that he heard people did during class. For instance, this Asian girl in his class sat next to people in the library and invaded their personal space. She kept sitting closer and some people did not really care which is weird, right? Apparently, they all thought she was an international student and did not know her "boundaries" because of cultural differences!

Daniel said that if he was the one invading other people's personal space, the other people would have probably packed up as fast as they can and ran away. It's funny because, Daniel is this big tall guy with a beard. Though, like everyone else, if you get to know him, he's a good person, not that I really know him.

Jay, one of the tutors, overheard our conversation and came out to join us. I told him that I did not want to create us a weird scenario like singing in the middle of Target or singing out my orders but I also did not want to overuse the elevators. I don't know how he does it, but he thought of a good one, standing behind someone, and basically looking over someone's shoulders. He demonstrated the scenario with me and asked, "How was that?" Laughing over the awkwardness, I said, "Definitely awkward. You nailed it."

For the next couple minutes, we thought of the awkward scenarios we could do, like haggling at a supermarket, haggling in an home improvement store, invading other people's personal space in the bus, invading personal space in the elevator, or standing backwards in line. Stupid, awkward stuff like that.

Lastly, Daniel told us that in his social psych course, he didn't do a "Break the Norm" paper, but he did have to manipulate situations. For instance, he and his friends tried to advocate more healthy eating so they posted photos of fruits and veggies around campus as well as near vending machines. Based on their data before and after, they noticed that a significant amount of people actually bought healthier foods! Later, they tried to advocate eating junk food, so posted photos of pizza around campus. They inferred that people would buy more unhealthy snacks. However, it didn't happen--less people bought things in the vending machines! Being subtle, he ans his group members asked people why they were hesitating around the vending machines. Apparently since seeing all the photos of pizza nearby, they thought that there was going to be a pizza party!

Anyway, I am pretty lame--writing in my blog about last Thursday. I'm just procrastinating--huge psych paper due this Friday and I don't know what to write about.

Oh, getting off this tangent, I remember why I wanted to post this again! I thought of what I wanted to do for my "Break the Norm" paper.

I wanted to go around campus and telling males around campus that I have seen them around campus, I find them attractive, would they go to bed with me tonight? Yeah, I was willing to go out of my comfort zone to for this experiment to be different. There was this experiment created 20-30 years ago, where students went around campus asking the opposite sex whether they be interested in having sex with them that night. Basically, trying to make this long story short, none of the girls wanted to have sex with a stranger on campus. However, for men, about 3 out 4 said yes. So, about 75% of men were willing to have sex with a stranger. This sounds so disgusting, but the experiment has been done numerous times. So, yeah, I learned this in my anthro class last semester as well as my psych class this semester, so I wanted to try it out, even though I know what the results would likely be. Maybe underneath this curious mind of mine, I want to know if people find me attractive? I mean, I don't know why I really think it's interesting. But then, it's stupid, because when given an offer like this, it's just sex that they're thinking about, not if I look pretty. Haha. So, I'm not going to do that experiment anymore. Though another reason why I don't want to do this anymore is because of him. After rejecting him, I realize how cruel the experiment can be... offering myself and then saying no. Basically, being a tease.

So, I think I may be invading other people's personal space for my paper. It should be interesting because I'm going way off my comfort zone. Typically, I leave a lot of space away from people. (Though, it's different with Christine, I would hold her hands! haha) When I did a class experiment with personal space, I was more than 20 cm away from the other person! Also, one of the reasons why I don't prefer elevators is because of personal space issue.

Breaking the norm sounds so difficult. We all hate creating awkward scenarios. It should be interesting to do something out of social norms. :)

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