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Flashcards in Deviation from Social Norms Deck (5)
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- Any behaviour that does not follow accepted social pattern or social rules which is therefore classed as unacceptable and abnormal.



- Some norms are explicit and form laws that govern behaviour (such as driving on the wrong side of the road).
- Some are implicit but are generally accepted (such as dress codes we abide by). This allows for the regulation of normal social behaviour.
- Whenever someone violates these unwritten rules, it could be an indication that there may be some form of abnormality or mental disorder.


Strength: Distinguishing

- This model allows us to distinguish between desirable and undesirable behaviour.
- The model aims to protect public from the effects or damaging consequences of abnormal behaviour. E.g public nudity is abnormal and if someone displayed this, it can be damaging and disturbing.
- To highlight that this behaviour is abnormal, we can aim to minimise this behaviour to protect the public.


Weakness: Social norms change over time

- Deviation from SN can be questioned as social norms change over time and behaviour that broke norms and was considered abnormal in 1950 may not be viewed the same today.
- E.g, being a single mum in 1950s was deemed abnormal as it broke social norms. This caused women to be harassed.
- However in 21st century, this behaviour is not classed as abnormal.
- This shows that it is not the individual who has changed, but the classification of the behaviour by society.
- Raises questions about validity of using this definition solely to define abnormality.


Weakness: Context

- Context MUST be taken into account.
- E.g, nudity in public is viewed as abnormal but nudity in a nudist beach is viewed as completely normal.
- Social norms differ between cultures which can be problematic for this definition.
- E.g in British culture it is considered polite if you finish the food off your plate but in India it's a sign you are still hungry and is seen as abnormal.
- This means that this definition does not consistently produce an accurate definition of abnormal behaviour.