Social Psychology

Student Learning Program

Chapter 10: Rebellion and resistance: Fighting back (pp. 379384)

Ask Yourself?

In this topic

  1. Reactance: Enough is Enough (pp. 380381)
  2. Systematic Processing: Thinking Things Through (pp. 381383)
  3. Using Norms Against Norms (pp. 383384)
Reactance: Enough is Enough

People can resist being manipulated by norms. Attempts to limit choice can be met with reactance.

People fight against threats to freedom of action when norms are not privately accepted, or are seen as inappropriate.

Systematic Processing: Thinking Things Through

One defense against normative pressure on behavior is to think things through, to make sure that any norm made accessible in the situation is actually applicable.

Ways to help this include questioning how norms are being used, questioning claims about relationships, and questioning others' views of the situation.

Using Norms Against Norms

The most effective defense is to use norms against norms.

Group consensus and social support are crucial to a successful rebellion.

So what does this mean?

When norms are not privately accepted, people can resist being manipulated by these norms. Reactance explains people's anger when they feel threatened in their behavioral freedom. One defense against this manipulation by norms is to think things through. Systematic thinking during a "cooling off" period and taking alternatives into consideration is important. The most effective defense is to use norms against norms. The presence of others (forming an ally) is crucial to successful rebellion.

Next topic

Putting it all together: Multiple guides for behavior

In this chapter

  1. Chapter 10 introduction
  2. Norms: Effective guides for social behavior
  3. The norm of reciprocity: Treating others as they treat you
  4. The norm of commitment: Keeping your promises
  5. The norm of obedience: Submitting to authority
  6. Rebellion and resistance: Fighting back
  7. Putting it all together: Multiple guides for behavior
  8. Chapter overview (PDF)
  9. Fill-in-the-blanks
  10. Multiple-choice questions