Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Breaching experiments

For my intro sociology class, I assigned the students a breaking experiment project where there were to break social norms and then analyze the reactions.  The projects did some of the standard things, like play music too loud or stare at people. Two, though, were really clever.

One student would ride the elevator when other people were on it, start to get off at his floor, and then, standing in the elevator doorway, start texting. He would then wait to see what would happen. This really confused the other elevator riders, who, after a minute or so would ask if he was getting off.

Another student would hug people, somewhat randomly, and he continue holding the person as long as they let him. After about two seconds, most people either pushed him away or squirmed away themselves. But... one women said, "oh, this is nice," which startled the student.

The students actually did a really good job of drawing more general analytic principles from how people responded.

Ah... they joys of teaching sociology.


K T Cat said...

So, did he score a date with the woman who liked the hug?

Brad Wright said...

I don't think so, though I should ask.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Desiree C. N. said...

I wish we had something like that assigned for our class!

Nick Carlson said...

I wore short-shorts to my classes in October and Ralph McNeal called me out in a full lecture hall as being part of Professor So-and-so's Social Psychology class. Kind of took the wind out of my sails.