Norms and Their Violation: From Scientific to Lay Thinking. An Exploratory Study from a Sample of Young Russian Adults



Problem. The problem of norms and norms violation has a long research history in scientific thinking. Lay thinking analysis rests in the shadow of this research line; although in the modern world people are actively involved in the construction of lay theories about various phenomena and they use this knowledge in daily life. Aim. Following the ideas of the social representations theory, the aim of the exploratory study was to analyse the lay theories developed by young Russian adults about norms and norms violation. Method. 134 young adults participated in the study, 26.12% males (aged 18 — 28 years, M=21.01years, SD =2.23). 71.6% participants were students of social sciences from Moscow Universities. A free-association technique was used. The data were analysed by using prototypical analysis. Results. The particularity of lay thinking about norms and norms violation was revealed. Conclusion: It is possible to conclude that norms are not equated with laws, while norms violation is identified with crimes (laws’ violation). The framework of the social representations theory allowed us to analyse the lay thinking about norms and norms violation as a matter of Russian cultural context.

General Information

Keywords: norms, norms violation, scientific thinking, lay thinking, social representations theory, Russian culture

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article


Acknowledgements. We thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, which helped us to improve the manuscript

Received: 06.06.2021


For citation: Sachkova M.Y., Berezina E.B., Dvoryanchikov N.V., Bovina I.B. Norms and Their Violation: From Scientific to Lay Thinking. An Exploratory Study from a Sample of Young Russian Adults. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2021. Vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 128–136. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2021170414.


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Information About the Authors

Marianna Y. Sachkova, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Department of General Psychology, Institute of Social Sciences, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Elizaveta B. Berezina, PhD in Psychology, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Sunway University, Sunway, Malaysia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Nikolay V. Dvoryanchikov, PhD in Psychology, Associate professor, Dean, Faculty of Legal and Forensic Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Inna B. Bovina, Doctor of Psychology, , Research Director, Associate Professor, Department of Clinical and Legal Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:


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