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Deviation from statistical norms tends to rely on the rarity of a behaviour, so if a behaviour is rare in a population then it is statistically abnormal, but how rare is rare? For many statisticians any behaviour that lies beyond 2 standard deviations either side of the mean "fits the bill" (why shouldn't we go for three). Confused, well it can mean that if less than 5% (alright 2 SD's isn't exactly 5% its close enough!) of people are doing a particular behaviour then it is classed as abnormal, about 1% of the world population talks to people who aren't there so schizophrenia fits this definition; be careful though when looking at behaviours that might be normally distributed, intelligence perhaps, you can be abnormal by falling into the top 2.5%, e.g.IQ over 130 or the bottom 2.5%, IQ below 70, so you can be abnormal by doing too little or too much of a behaviour.

Deviation from social norms differs in that it doesn't matter how many people are doing the behaviour; its simply the kind of behaviour that this society will not put up with, so there could be 49% of the population breaking social norms, of course once you get over 50% those people will dictate the new social norm, so the behaviour would become a new norm and now the other group who didn't do the behaviour will break the social norm, of course they might try appealing to some "text" that lists a moral code that they think is universal. Victorian women might have seen premarital sex as bad or immoral, and yet in a modern western society the norm may now be the complete reverse. Try reading Szasz's views on masturbational insanity, witchcraft or homosexuality

If confused behaviours that appear odd or weird fit the statistical definition, whereas if the behaviour is immoral, bad, sick or possibly evil it probably breaks social norms, many "mental illnesses" fit more than one definition

Apologies for typos

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โˆ™ 2011-09-13 13:16:55
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Q: What is a difference between the deviation of statistical norms and the deviation of social norms?
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