Bertram Malle, Professor, Brown University

Friday, April 1, 2022 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
A32 Lecture Hall and Zoom (See Link Below)

"The Social-Cognitive Nature of Norms"

The power of norms to regulate social behavior have been studied widely in the social sciences.  Much less research has been conducted on the way norms are cognitively represented, processed, and learned so as to accomplish their social functions.  We have begun to identify some of the properties of norm representations, using methods of verbal elicitation, reaction times, language analysis, and network science. We have found that norms are likely to be organized in networks activated in highly context-specific ways; the networks have norms with strong consensus in the center and norms with declining consensus in the periphery; prescription norms have higher consensus and are more quickly activated than prohibition norms; and norms have degrees of deontic force that appear to be represented reliably in language (e.g., for prescriptions:  mandatory > essential > called for > encouraged).  These properties pose unique challenges to computational models of norms and to the emerging design of artificial social agents.    



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