The Social Norm In The Gym

939 words - 4 pages

Social psychology is defined as the study of the relationships between people, their community and their environment (King, 2011). People tend to conform to society to feel accepted. However, their circumstances play a role in their capability to conform. For example, people are inclined to wear specific attire to the gym. The typical workout outfit is gym shorts, a t-shirt, and running sneakers, and typically, females put their hair up in a ponytail holder. Wearing anything other than these articles of clothing is abnormal and breaks the social norm.
The experiment to test the social norm of what clothes to wear in the gym consisted of five participants. The three confederates, Julie Curtis, Melissa Medici, and Payge Yerkes, were in the control group and wore gym shorts, t-shirts, and sneakers. The job of the control group was to watch the other gym patrons’ reactions to the experimenter’s attire. The experimental group consisted of Julie Crance, who wore a black top, black pants and brown heels; and Danielle Bonser, who wore a black dress and black wedges. Both experimenters wore their hair down, curled and wore a lot of makeup. Crance rode the bike, while Bonser worked on the elliptical for the duration of this experiment, which took place in the Kaplan gym at Mount Saint Mary College.
We conducted this experiment two times: once at night and the other in the late afternoon. The first group, during the night, consisted of Crance, Curtis, and Medici. The confederates entered the gym five minutes before the experimenter and observed and recorded the reactions of the other patrons. We observed that many people discretely watched the experimenter. When she first walked in, the bystanders at the front desk gave her weird looks. During the experimenter’s work out, one girl next to her kept taking quick glances at her, while another behind her was trying not to laugh. While she was stretching, two girls behind her looked at each other, looked at Julie again, and left.
The second group that conducted the experiment in the late afternoon consisted of Yerkes, the confederate, and Bonser, the experimenter. The confederate walked in about five minutes before the experimenter and observed and recorded the reactions of the other gym patrons. A guy stared at the experimenter and looked away repeatedly, while two girls were audibly giggling. When she changed machines, two girls gave her strange looks. Another girl looked at the confederate, mouthed “What is she doing?”, and laughed.
The experimenters reported that they felt immensely nervous going to the Kaplan gym. They saw people staring at them, and said it was really uncomfortable. The people next to them didn't know how to react, and they didn't want to say anything to anyone, but once the experimenters were in the gym and on the...

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