Breaking the Rules is contagious!
Founder of this Naples site of NeighborHelp Referrals.
Hanging around losers changes your social norms, believe it or not.
Contagious Rule-BreakingWhen people see that others clearly disobey a social norm, it will increase the observers' readiness to disobey this particular norm as well (thinking "Everyone else does it, so why shouldn't I?").
But will the fact that other people disobey a particular norm make it more likely that an observer will disobey different social norms, even laws?
Keizer et al. (p. 1681, published online 20 November) performed six natural field experiments in Groningen, Netherlands, in which observers had to choose to obey or disobey different social norms after observing visual disorder (such as littering or graffiti), or hearing fireworks go off when prohibited.
The willingness to disobey social rules was, indeed, observed to increase when there were signs of social disorder around, and the presence of graffiti more than doubled the number of people littering and stealing.