Social Norm

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  • An informal rule regarding social behavior. Social norms change over time and between cultures. In the United States, for example, cigarette smoking was once a generally accepted behavior. Most recently, knowledge about the health risks of smoking has led to a shift in its acceptability. Smoking has been banned in a number of places, including movie theaters, airplanes, and even prisons. Another example concerns gender roles and employment. Traditionally, in the United States, males were expected to earn more and provide for the family, while females cared for the children. Today, it is not uncommon for females to earn more than their male partners and for the male to stay home to care for the children.


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