Jessica McManus, Ph.D. (2013)

Major Professor:

Dr. Don Saucier

Title and Institution:

Assistant Professor, Carroll College


Punishing counternormative behavior: perceived social group membership of the norm violator predicts social control


To better understand factors related to greater social control of norm violators, I conducted two studies. The social group membership of the norm violator was of foremost importance to these studies and tested the general prediction that who violates the norm determines the perceived appropriate reaction to the norm violation. Consistent with contemporary theories of prejudice (i.e., the justification-suppression model of prejudice, the stereotype content model, and aversive racism theory) results revealed that norm violators with intellectual disabilities were given stronger (yet more paternalistic) social control reactions than Black norm violators and that Black norm violators were perceived as less competent when they violated a norm that was high (vs. low) in personal implication. Results also supported theories related to social-identity theory by demonstrating that White norm violators were generally less liked than other norm violators. The results of these studies demonstrate that social group membership influences how individuals react to norm violators and contributes to our understanding of the unfair treatment of individuals in our society.