[Home]SocialNormalization

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Why do social groups tend to create norms and to act according to norms?

If we AssumeGoodFaith - and facing the universality of the phenomenon - one must also assume, that it has an important function in the mechanics of human communication or cooperation. In that case we will have to understand normalization to optimize cooperation.

On the other hand, it might just be a part of our "animal inheritage", which makes us act according to a genetic program that isn't adapted for modern society or online community. In that case we will have to understand normalization to surpass its problems to optimize cooperation.


Could someone elucidate the meaning of "normalize" ? --ThomasKalka

To create norms. To act according to norms. To have unwritten expectations about normal behaviour. This also opens any person or behaviour to comparison, to measure a difference. Potentially the difference is either small and you are accepted or so big, that further communication is avoided, further attempts towards cooperation seem undesirable. -- HelmutLeitner

Evolution of common concepts in a group is essential for cooperation. There will be no speech without shared concepts.

Evolution of common expectations on behaviour in a group is also part of evolution of speech and essential for efficency.

A norm - expectation of exactly one correct behaviour - is foundation of power and obedience. Thus it is also essential part of any social system based on forced cooperation like legal systems.

--ThomasKalka


The terms I'm aware of are GroupThink and GroupShift?. Is this page about the same thing? -- SunirShah

I don't think so, because from GroupThink: "GroupThink generally refers to the collective stupidity ... it is mob rule." it is clear, that it is a negative term, that is only used for certain groups (cliques?), while other groups are free from it. Normalization seems to happen in any - even a temporary - group, a family, even if people meet first time and smile at each other (or talk about the weather). -- HelmutLeitner


When talking about SocialNormalization are we talking about how a group or team forms and then plays? My thought is we need enough CommonContext to communicate and attack more complex problems as a group. Without some normilization to help coordinate efforts, an individual could accomplish more. However, when a group really jels then the collective results can be something that is not obtainable as an individual. -- DouglasShimp?

I think about this in a very general way. Let's try it at the maybe lowest level of mormalization: We've never seen and we meet: you smile at me and I smile back. -- What has happened? The simples form of social synchronization? Imitation? The signal: I can understand you, I'm willing to follow you? Take the lead and we'll act as a team? -- HelmutLeitner

"you smile at me and I smile back" -- If I follow the simple conclusion; we have just shown respect for each other. Each of us has acknowledged the other and spent some small amount of effort and time to do that. This provides a basis to build up a more complex set of interactions with more interesting exchanges. -- DouglasShimp?

Smiling is a bad example, I think, since it is very likely it is instinctual. All cultures smile, even those that developed worlds apart. The primates smile as well, but they do it to show off their teeth to ward off a potential fight. Tipping, I think, is a better example of SocialNormalization since it varies so drastically between cultures, even being law in some. -- SunirShah


SocialNormalization helps AlleviateInsecurity. People feel less insecure in their position if they see other people doing similar things with success. The further a person is isolated, the less sure they are of themselves, and eventually they will find themselves in Wiki:AnalysisParalysis unable to do anything. Online, you will find many who have become isolated for one reason or the other, spending their time online to find some reassurance in what they are doing. However, being online is essentially procrastinating. Indeed, one of the main reasons people procrastinate is that they are insecure in what they are doing. -- SunirShah


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