Monday, September 07, 2009

Breaking emotion rules with the police

A big story last week was the freeing of an 18-year kidnap victim in California. Apparently the kidnapper and the victim's children to UC Berkeley, and a police officer noticed that the girls weren't acting "normally." They were "non-responsive and exuded no energy." Now, obviously, this was out of school because it is the normal response of college students in the classroom. The police officer followed up, and they unraveled this terrible crime.

This reminds me of the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The police officer who arrested him did so, according to the officer, because Gates was acting badly--not breaking any specific laws. (Whether it was this, racism, or both has been hotly debated).

I suppose my interest in this aspect of these events is why I have studied the social psychology of deviance, but it always amazes me how varied and broad are social norms on how to behave.

No comments: