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Tendency to Violate Rules


Tendency to Violate Rules

People commit crime, or break the law, for six reasons – lust, anger, greed, revenge, excitement or ego. Those are motives. And people don’t comply with the law because they make the rational choice not to. Social psychologists have long been interested in people’s inclinations to follow the rules and go along with others. Some of their earliest experiments showed that people are natural conformers, and you don’t even need to do experiments to see this. Take fashion, for example – a few teenagers start wearing jeans slung low showing their underpants and suddenly it’s ‘the thing’. With COVID restrictions, and some of them have been severe, the majority of people have consistently followed the rules and gone along with what they have been asked to do. Given this tendency to comply, it’s those instances of people not being compliant and breaking the rules that are more noticeable and surprising. A very recent study about mask-wearing carried out in the US and Canada found that while 85 per cent or more of people were fully compliant with all the mask-wearing regulations, 10 to 15 per cent were only compliant every now and again, or didn’t want to follow the rules at all. Originally, I thought it might be high-status people who would break these rules more than others, because there is a weight of empirical evidence in social psychology that people who are wealthy and powerful are more likely to follow self-interest than to do what other people want. In fact, the evidence shows that high-status people generally tend to be less empathetic, more anti-social and rude when they are talking, and less likely to take other people’s perspectives into account. One study in the US looked at cars at pedestrian crossings, and found that people in expensive, high-status cars were less likely to stop for pedestrians than people in cheaper, lower-status cars. In the world of safety, we may find that when it comes to rules, less is more. When it comes to violations, it’s sometimes more appropriate to blame the rule rather than the person.


Rules are a set of explicit regulations that help in the smooth functioning of a particular administrative section. Rules are always made for a good purpose and for the welfare of the people. But some people do not follow rules. From students to old Indian citizens, no one wishes to follow rules and they try to create shortcuts to do their work easily. Students violate rules in school through many activities like running in the corridors, not listening to the teachers and so on; the list goes on and on. To get away from the fine and penalty arising because of breaking traffic rules in India, people try to bribe police officials by offering them cash. However, bribing an official is a crime itself and should not be committed. But, the biggest problem occurs when the rule violators try to bribe traffic officials and the officials, instead of stopping them and asking them not to violate rules, accept the bribe offered by the violators. A common violation is driving while being drunk. Walking along a wrong trajectory is a huge problem in India, that is, people want to walk on their desired side of the road, but not on the side that they have been instructed to walk on and which is safe. In India, it is a trend to break a queue to get a service faster and it is even seen that the one who breaks the queue gets a faster service than those standing in a queue. Even after many laws and plans started by the government of India, people do not tend to keep their own country clean and healthy ultimately. Even after initiating a programme like ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ by the honourable prime minister of India that aims to maintain cleanliness in the country, god knows if the people of India are that busy that they cannot even throw different waste in their respective dustbins. When they don’t throw the waste in separate dustbins, this leads to mixing of different kinds of waste materials and creates a lot of problems. Do grow up co-dwellers of this great nation or stop blaming the system with a high neck.

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