The Normalization Trap

What’s normal?

Perhaps the answer seems obvious: What’s normal is what’s typical — what is average.

But in a recent paper in the journal Cognition, we argue that the situation is more complicated than that. …

Our research suggests, for example, that as President Trump continues to do things that once would have been regarded as outlandish, these actions are not simply coming to be regarded as more typical; they are coming to be seen as more normal. As a result, they will come to be seen as less bad and hence less worthy of outrage.

Our work thus offers support for those who worry about “normalization”: that things, simply by becoming more common, become more acceptable. CONT.

Adam Bear & Joshua Knobe (Yale), New York Times