Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Heidi Blocker

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Social norms are the glue that holds society together, yet our understanding remains heavily siloed in offline settings, despite the rapidly expanding digital world. This thesis comprehensively explores social norm dynamics, contrasting traditional and digital contexts through a social psychological lens. First, I elucidate the psychological underpinnings of how norms emerge, the key role that punishment mechanisms play in norm maintenance, and the social influence and social structures that lead norms to shift or erode over time. Then, I explore the digital sphere, examining how the online environment accelerates norm dissemination, induces more norm conformity and enforcement, and exacerbates norm extremity due to anonymity and algorithms online. I synthesize the implications of these online environments, suggesting that digital platforms profoundly influence the overall cycle of norm evolution: emergence, maintenance, and change of social norms. As such, I call for future interdisciplinary research to understand how norms are uniquely propagated and maintained in online spaces, thereby enhancing understanding of the societal implications of norm dynamics across both offline and online domains.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.