From: The Atlantic

What’s Normal?

After election day, “This is not normal” became a rallying cry for Donald Trump’s opponents: Harry Reid warned against press coverage that normalized the president-elect; a John Oliver monologue about Trump being abnormal won 14 million YouTube views; this is not normal T-shirts popped up around the country. But in July, after critics opined that his bullying tweets were “not normal,” Trump tweeted back that his social-media usage, far from deviant, was simply “MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL.” Maybe he’s hit on an uncomfortable truth: Even abhorrent things can become standard. Could his behavior become normal?

Complicating matters, our sense of what’s ideal can be fickle. Children, who by age 3 have ideas about what is normal behavior, are prone to seeing an instance of a random behavior—someone taking items out of a bag in a certain way, say—as exemplifying a norm, even without any prompting. Among adults, too, conventions can emerge with surprising speed.A University of Pennsylvania study asked members of a social network to look at images of adults and name them. After each participant shared his or her suggested name with just a few others in the group, the entire network quickly reached consensus.

Read the whole story: The Atlantic

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