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Psychology students shatter social norms

TENSE.+Junior+Allie+Ross+went+to+Kenwood+Mall+and+sat+directly+next+to+strangers+for+as+long+as+possible.+%E2%80%9CI+could+tell+that+%5Bpeople%5D+were+uncomfortable+and+confused+with+the+fact+that+I+was+not+following+the+expectations+of+a+personal+space+barrier%2C+but+I+continued+on+anyway%2C%22+Ross+said.
TENSE. Junior Allie Ross went to Kenwood Mall and sat directly next to strangers for as long as possible. “I could tell that [people] were uncomfortable and confused with the fact that I was not following the expectations of a personal space barrier, but I continued on anyway,

TENSE. Junior Allie Ross went to Kenwood Mall and sat directly next to strangers for as long as possible. “I could tell that [people] were uncomfortable and confused with the fact that I was not following the expectations of a personal space barrier, but I continued on anyway," Ross said.

MCT Photo

MCT Photo

TENSE. Junior Allie Ross went to Kenwood Mall and sat directly next to strangers for as long as possible. “I could tell that [people] were uncomfortable and confused with the fact that I was not following the expectations of a personal space barrier, but I continued on anyway," Ross said.

Yvanna Reyes, Staff Writer

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Select SHS students participated in a project where they were challenged to go out in public and go against the unsaid rules of society or ‘break a social norm’.

Tasks that break a social norm include invading personal space, paying only in coins, doing yoga in a dress, sleeping on beds at furniture stores, making intense eye contact with someone, or any creative option of their choice.

Students also had to avoid wearing costumes to inhibit deindividuation, a psychology term that defines why people are more enabled to do radical things, because they feel a loss of self-awareness and distance from their personality.

In all, embarrassment is encouraged. Juniors and seniors in AP Psychology documented their experience with a picture or video and applied three vocabulary terms to the experiment.

“For my project, I went trick-or-treating in my neighborhood in May wearing normal clothing. People were so confused,” said Emily Reddy, 11.

Participants are not allowed to tell others that they are interacting with them for a project. Instead, part of the experiment is to leave others confused and imply cognitive dissonance, which is when actions do not agree with one’s thoughts.

“The hardest part may be the feeling you get before you do it; cognitive dissonance feels heaviest there,” said Mrs. Laura Miniard, AP Psychology teacher.

“An older man was so upset with me, he asked, ‘Why are you here? I don’t have anything for you.’ But overall, this was a fun project. It was exciting,” Reddy said.

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The student voice of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio
Psychology students shatter social norms