How does the discomfort of Milgram’s students engaged in his subway research project demonstrate the importance of norms in human behaviour? Can you provide an example of some other situation that a researcher might use in place of the subway requests and that might show similar results with respect to norms?
The discomfort of the student's in this experiment became more the focus than the reaction of the passengers. The students reported being uncomfortable first with asking people for their seats, and second with the results of taking those seats. Asking the passengers for their seats violated the norm that once a person has seat on the subway, it's theirs. Once the students sat in the seat they had taken, they expressed feeling as if the person they had asked thought they were possibly mentally ill, and the passenger would often move quite far away from the student after giving up their seats. The experiment illustrates that there are real consequences to violating social norms, such as exclusion, or anger, or labeling as an outsider or mentally ill.
Another situation that could be used is asking people in line if you can get ahead of them, without giving any reason for needing to be ahead.