For my One Hour Research project I was interested in exploring social and behavioral norms of different regions of the country through teaching strangers movement and asking them to perform it. My hypothesis was that from least to most willing to participate and interact with strangers it would be the Northeast, Midwest, and then the South.
ABSTRACT: I will investigate whether differing social norms of regions of the United States affects a person’s willingness and enthusiasm to “donate a move.”
THESIS: If each region of the country has a unique culture that dictates social norms, I want to explore how that impacts movement. The Northeast is known for saying “no;” they do not smile back in greeting or interact with strangers. The South is known for saying “yes;” smiles here are common and it is normal to have a conversation with the stranger standing next to you at the grocery checkout line. The Midwest is somewhere in the middle and acts as a neutral ground. This project will take place in an urban setting in each of these regions to measure the willingness and enthusiasm of participants to “donate a move” to determine if the quality of their movement reflects the social norms of their region.
METHODOLOGY: To test this thesis, I will put a videographer in a major city in each region. In the Northeast this will take place in New York, New York by Laura DeAngelis; in the South, Orlando, Florida by Mary Dailey; and in the Midwest, Columbus, Ohio by myself. Each region will have twenty minutes to complete their portion for a total of one hour. Each participant will be asked to do an eight count each of three, predetermined moves. A tutorial video will be given to each videographer to show them the desired steadiness, framing, and counts and to show the participants the moves. The videographer will approach as many possible people to participate. This will measure the willingness of each region: the more people that have to be asked and refuse, the less willing that region is. Enthusiasm will be measured relatively based on facial expression and how large the movement is after all the videos are collected. I will then compile all of the videos into a dance film to showcase the data.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
CONCLUSION: My hypothesis was partially supported. The Northeast performed as expected, as only 9% of people agreed to participate. However it was interesting to note that the Midwest (33%) and South (17%) were reversed of what was expected. Confounding variables could have been that in Columbus there is a strong devotion to OSU, and I told people that I was from Ohio State, and that in Orlando the research had to be conducted inside due to poor weather. If I were to conduct further research, I would want to spend more time collecting data to have a greater sample size and I would want my sample from the South to be the “true South” instead of Florida.