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Can you see how we formed, stormed, normed and performed there?

byCristina BicchieriRyan Muldoon

What is the miraculous thing we’ll be doing next, together? I can’t wait to find out.
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My first thought upon hearing about this was – This is the Long Rangers! The little group that started about two years ago with not much more than just the vague sense that there needed to be more attention paid to long term vision here at SCUU has certainly gone through these stages. We formed, without much sense of what we were about or what we would do or who should be involved. We definitely went through a period when personalities clashed and the group polarized over even mundane tasks. Having gone through that, the Long Rangers found ways of working together that, well, work for us, and as a result we’ve been able to have the discussions and ask the questions and do the activities we’ve wanted to pretty effectively for the past few months. That small group has formed, stormed, normed and performed. We’re like a poster child for Bruce Tuckman. I hope he is appreciating us, out there.

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Bicchieri (2006) has thus defined the expectations that underlie normcompliance:
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Be it as it may, it follows that norms do not need to beinternalized in order to affect action. Conformity to norms isconditional: people would stop conforming to a norm if there weredoubts or disagreements about a particular group's identifyingcharacteristics, thus questioning the group's ability to validatea particular identity, or when a group is abandoned for a newone. The fierce disputes common to the first Christian groups arean example of the first challenge to conformity (Pagel 2003), whereaschanges in social status, such as the passage from student to faculty,are an example of the second.


Library of Congress Catalog Data: ISSN 1095-5054

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The groups with which we happen to identify ourselves may be verylarge, as when one self-defines as Muslim or French, or as small as afriends' group. Some very general group identities may notinvolve specific norms, but there are many cases in which groupidentification and social norms are inextricably connected, as oftengroups develop their own special norms. In that case, group membersbelieve that certain patterns of behavior are unique to them, and usetheir distinctive norms to define group membership. Manyclose-knit groups, such as the Amish or the Hasidic Jews, enforce normsof separation proscribing marriage and intimate relationships withoutsiders, as well as specific dress codes and a host of otherprescriptive and proscriptive norms that make the group unique anddifferentiate it from out-groups. In this case, once anindividual perceives herself as a group member, she will adhere to thegroup prototype and behave in accordance with it. Hogg and Turner(1987) called the process through which individuals come to conform tosuch group norms referent informational influence.Group-specific norms have, among other things, the twofold function ofminimizing perceived differences among group members and maximizingdifferences between the group and outsiders. Once formed, suchnorms become stable cognitive representations of appropriate behavioras a group member. Social identity is built around groupcharacteristics and behavioral standards, hence any perceived lack ofconformity to group norms is seen as a threat to the legitimacy of thegroup. Self-categorization accentuates the similarities betweenone's behavior and that prescribed by the group norm, thuscausing conformity as well as the disposition to control and punishin-group members that transgress group norms. In this view, groupnorms are obeyed because one identifies with the group, and conformityis mediated by self-categorization as an in-group member. A telling(but not uncommon) historical example of the relationship between normsand group-membership was the division of England into the two partiesof the Roundheads and Cavaliers. Charles Mackay reports that “Inthose days every species of vice and iniquity was thought by thePuritans to lurk in the long curly tresses of the monarchists, whilethe latter imagined that their opponents were as destitute of wit, ofwisdom, and of virtue, as they were of hair. A man's locks were asymbol of his creed, both in politics and religion. The more abundantthe hair, the more scant the faith; and the balder the head, the moresincere the piety” (Extraordinary popular delusions, 1841:351).

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In an evolutionary approach behavior is adaptive, so that a strategythat did work well in the past is retained, and one that fared poorlywill be changed. This can be interpreted in two ways: either theevolution of strategies is the consequence of adaptation by individualagents, or the evolution of strategies is understood as thedifferential reproduction of agents based on their success rates intheir interactions. The former interpretation assumes short timescalesfor interactions: many iterations of the game over time thus representno more than a few decades in time in total. The latterinterpretation assumes rather longer timescales: each instance ofstrategy adjustment represents a new generation of agents coming intothe population, with the old generation dying simultaneously. Letus consider the ramifications of each interpretation in turn.

Tuckman's stages of group development - Wikipedia

A more interesting case, and one relevant to a study of thereproduction of norms of cooperation, is that of a population in whichseveral competing strategies are present at any given time. What wewant to know is whether the strategy frequencies that exist at a timeare stable, or if there is a tendency for one strategy to becomedominant over time. If we continue to rely on the ESS solutionconcept, we see a classic example in the Hawk-Dove game. If weassume that there is no uncorrelated asymmetry between the players,then the mixed Nash equilibrium is the ESS. If we further assumethat there is no structure to how agents interact with each other, thiscan be interpreted in two ways: either each player randomizes his orher strategy in each round of play, or we have a stable polymorphism inthe population, in which the proportion of each strategy in thepopulation corresponds to the frequency with which each strategy would beplayed in a randomizing approach. So, in those cases where we canassume that players randomly encounter each other, whenever there is amixed solution ESS we can expect to find polymorphic populations.

Social Norms (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Thus, what makes the model of norm emergence of Skyrms and Alexanderso interesting is its enriching the set of idealizations that one mustmake in building a model. The addition of structuredinteraction and structured updates to a model of norm emergence canhelp make clear how certain kinds of norms tend to emerge in certainkinds of situation and not others, which is difficult or impossible tocapture in random interaction models.