Nico Rivera's Analysis

Enviornment played a huge role in the reactions of the people who were accepting the money from us. Seeing as Bay Ridge is more of an upscale neighborhood, the store owners were most likely conditioned and used to larger bills and higher forms of currency. They would naturally see pennies as a low form of payment and thus form an opinion based on that. The first woman we gave pennies to was angry and annoyed at the gesture, fufilling exactly the reaction we expected him to. The last man was different however leading me to another conclusion. I analyzed that this man must either be in a tough spot money wise right now, or grew up in a tough economic household. This would allow him to sympathize and accept the pennies we gave him with absolutely no problem. This actually defies our hypothesis because this man was actually enjoying the pennies. He seemed to actually want them and had absolutely no problem with taking them. Besides having the enviornment greatly effect the outcome, it was also evident that the cashiers were conforming to their own social norm, because of the neighborhood, like i previously stated. This relates to the hypothesis, because most of the cashiers were pissed off by what we did.

Aarsh Vora's Analysis

 In our social psychology experiment we violated a social norm by paying with pennies instead of paying with dollar bills. People usually pay their debts with dollars and if its not much maybe some change but never does anyone pay for something with all pennies. Its something you just don't see everyday and that is why when we did it it violated a social norm. The social norm for paying for something (like a doughnut, a bag of chips, food or pans) would be by paying with a dollar bill. In this experiment we wanted to see how people would react when we paid with pennies. We didn't want to know just how the cashier would react but the other people in line, other people watching, we wanted to know what people thought. We hypothesized that if we were to pay with pennies people would be either amused or angry, but noone would act normally. We knew that there would be a change in reaction compared to the control group (how people normally pay their debts with paper money). In watching all of these peoples reactions we realized that many things contributed to that particular persons reaction and some factors were, the environment, the presence of an authority figure, the other people at the shop and even other factors like their age group. After conducting our experiment our hypothesis was proven correct, we were right in thinking that peoples reactions would be different and they would be either amused or angry. Noone was able to successfully ignore us and pretend its normal. However there were some differences from what we anticipated and what we learned from the survey questions. For an example, we thought that people would be either amused or pissed off and we were right, however we thought people would be angered because we were paying with pennies but after the survey we realized that some people were not angry at the fact we were paying with pennies but because they had to do more work. Other then this there was not much more surprising about the results. We think that people did react this way and that our hypothesis was deemed correct because what we did really is out of the ordinary, it really is something you wouldn't expect, and really is something you don't see everyday. The Difference between the control group and the experimental group was pretty much the fact that the experimental group had a reaction and it was not the same thing that happens everyday, I am pretty sure that it was the highlight of the day for some of these cashiers. We also realized that the people in line during the Dunkin Donuts experiment were very angry and they were the ones that were angry as opposed to the cashier simply because they had to wait and it was annoying for them. The Cashiers didn't feel this way in all three experiments and were usually more amused then angry and if they were angry not really for the reason we were expecting. The results we got were no way perfect and we think many factors caused these results and we are pretty sure that depending on a few of these factors these peoples reactions would be different. For an example the lady in red specifically stated that she was in a rush and that this was New York City, and she doesnt have time. So I assume that if we did this in another place maybe California where things are more slowed down and calmer there would be less angry people and more amused people as opposed to in NYC where there would be more angry people and less amused people. (We do not change our stance in that their reactions would be different from the control group). Another factor besides from environment/geography would be group think and the other people in the store. For an example in Dunkin Donuts the lady in the red made the cashier nervous, because she is a customer, and she needs to do whatever to keep the customer happy, thus she got more worried, less amused and more angry as time went on because of these outside pressures and conformity. Lastly, the presence of an authority figure could have also changed the whole outcome of the experiment because if the manager of the Dunkin Donuts or the owner of the 99 cent store was there Im pretty sure the cashier's reaction wouldve been different and more serious. This project allowed me to understand how society works and how social norms work, how people react and why. I realized that even though we are always told to be ourselves people tend to do what other people are doing. They tend to shun upon the same things, they tend to embrace the same things, they tend to do everything in a similar way and there are only a few exceptions. I realized that for every reaction that we got that day there were so many uncontrollable variables that affected their reaction and it would be nearly impossible to get a real genuine reaction from a person that is truly theirs as opposed to what their reaction "should be".

- Aarsh Vora

Joseph Moreira's Analysis

The Social psychology experiment of our group consisted of changing our money into pennies and then paying the cashiers at different stores with the different pennies. This experiment can fall into the category of violating social norms because the norm is paying with a dollar bill instead of 100 pennies. In this experiment we wanted to view each cashier's reaction towards the payment of pennies and why they reacted that certain way. The hypothesis was that the cashier would either end up angry or show a negative reaction for not having the patience of receiving the pennies as payment. For the cashier I had bought three pans and had to pay with one hundred and eight pennies ($1.08). At first she wasn't really mad that I had the pennies but began to become a little angry when she had to count all of the pennies. We later interviewed her and she responded that she was only angry when she had to count the pennies because she didn't care about the pennies since it was a ninety-nine cents store. This proves that her reaction was shown because of the environment because she really didn't get mad because it was a 99 cent store and that she deals with change everyday. Then we tried going to Dunkin Donuts where Aarsh had to pay for a doughnut with the pennies. The cashier tried to wait patiently but was aware of a line forming behind him with many angry customers. These customers were waiting on someone who was paying with pennies. The lady's reaction can be proven through the environment who began to startle her a little which then made her become a little angry towards the end although she remained amused. Then we had Anders go to a Halal food stand where he took a handful of pennies to pay for a drink but then the guy at the stand said, "we don't accept pennies." However his reaction can lead to conformity because the guy next to him looked at him like he shouldn't accept the pennies which made him conform into the action he took. Then finally Anders when to a deli where he paid for a bag of chips with 25 pennies where the guy gladly accepted them with a smile on his face. However the guy did not react through conformity or the environment since nobody was at the store pressuring the guy. The hypothesis was proven up to the three cashiers where they had a reaction we anticipated. In this experiment I have learned that people tend to be annoyed when going through long procedures as shown through the experiment. The results would be different with different age groups because teenagers wouldn't really care as opposed to older people who would probably tend to get angry because each person has a different perspective on an experience.

Anders Vestunis's Analysis

Our experiment, paying with pennies, proved that when social norms are broken, people would act in different ways. Our hypothesis was proven because you can see the frustration and how annoyed people were when we pulled out a bunch of pennies to pay with. The people were annoyed because they are so used to paying using dollars, that when they see pennies they know that it is going to take a long time to count them up, therefore wasting their time, if they are in a hurry to get somewhere. The girl that Joe interviewed that worked in the 99-cent store surprised me the most; she said that she did not find it weird that someone would pay with pennies. She said that she is alright with people paying with pennies and that the only annoying part about it, is that she has to count all the pennies. Frustration comes when you are annoyed, the women in Dunkin’ Donuts was getting frustrated, having to wait online for Aarsh to count all his pennies. She eventually started to laugh because she found it funny that all he had was pennies, but was angered such that she had to be somewhere and was hoping to be in and out quick instead it took her about 5 minutes to get her order. When the control group pays with dollars, it takes less time and stress of having to count, but when the experimental group had to take their time counting the pennies, they got frustrated and annoyed by it. The groups acted differently because of conditioning. Both groups are conditioned to pay with dollars, and are used to paying quickly. In the control group the regular use of dollars, helped the business because it went by faster. The experimental group was annoyed and frustrated when we started to pay with pennies, they were conditioned to pay with dollars and the payments would be done quickly, but when the pennies came out it took much longer to count the pennies, therefore causing the people to get frustrated and annoyed by having to wait. I learned that when you break social norms people will look at you differently, following the social norm is the way to go, but those few people that break them are the ones that feel the need to stand up and change. Depending on the store, the outcome would be different, because Dunkin’ Donuts has to take the pennies because they are a chain store. In a smaller privately owned store that is not a chain store, the people have the choice of whether or not they want the pennies.

- Anders Vestunis

Our Results


Interview Questions
$0.99 Store Cashier
1) What was your reaction when you first saw my friend pay with pennies? Why do you think you reacted this way?
When I realized that your friend was going to pay in pennies I wasnt too upset at the fact that he was paying with pennies rather the idea that I would need to count all of those pennies. I just don't have the time in my life to be counting pennies.

2) Did your reaction change after some time passed or was it the same the whole time? Why?
As time went on I was getting more and more frustrated because counting all those pennies was time consuming and just a pain in the ass.

Dunkin Dounuts Cashier
1) What was your reaction when you first saw my friend pay with pennies? Why do you think you reacted this way?
When he pulled out pennies from his pocket I actually thought it was pretty funny. Its just something you dont see everyday and it was funny to think Im getting paid in pennies. I was actually quite relieved his order was only one dollar.

2) Did your reaction change after some time passed or was it the same the whole time? Why?
I was actually amused the whole time and so was my co-worker but we noticed the other people in line were not so we had to rush

"Chick in Red" at Dunkin Donuts
1) What was your reaction when you first saw my friend pay with pennies? Why do you think you reacted this way?
I thought it was cute at first because he just reached into his pocket and pulled out pennies and started counting...

2) Did your reaction change after some time passed or was it the same the whole time? Why?
but after a while when I realized he was going to pay the whole dollar with pennies I became very frustrated. We are in New York City, everything is fast paced, noone has time for paying with pennies in New York and I had to get somewhere so it was getting very annoying, and If another worker didn't come to help me I would have probably yelled at him.

Halal Food Guy
"Did Not Have Time for Jokes" Did not take part of this survey (His loss...)

Deli Dude
1) What was your reaction when you first saw my friend pay with pennies? Why do you think you reacted this way?
I found this pretty funny, but I don't mind, times are tough so when he pulled out the pennies I was not going to deny him the purchase just because they are pennies, money is money either way

2) Did your reaction change after some time passed or was it the same the whole time? Why?
As time went on my hands got a little tired from holding them out there, plus he was a slow counter so it took a little longer than it should have, but I didn't mind because like i said before money is money regardless of pennies or dollar bills

Other Notes/Things We Noticed/Questions/Improvements 

- We think we would've been able to improve this by closing the gap on the variables so there is only one, which would be the person themselves. If there is an environment with other people they can influence the reaction and we didn't want that.
- We also thought this experiment would've been better if we saw how the same people would react to different age groups, because its different for a teenager to pay with pennies and a grown adult
- We had a feeling that the reaction of the cashier would've changed if maybe a manager or an authority figure were there (or maybe it was what it was because there was an authority figure there)
- We noticed that people tried to hide their feelings especially the cashier, but the people in line tended to express their feelings a bit more (social roles?)
- We also noticed that all of the people were experimented with were all pretty young and maybe there would've been a different reaction from older people

Our Experiment

The social norm when you buy something is to pay with dollars, the penny is the least used coin in the entire monetary system in the United States but for our experiment we will be defying this social norm and using the penny to buy things at stores.

Hypothesis: If we buy things and pay with pennies instead of dollars then the cashier and other people will either be amused or pissed off

Control Group:  The Control Group is how normal people pay in everyday life

Variables: The variables in this experiment will be the different enviornments (shops) and different people

Expected Outcome: People will be either surprised, pissed off or amused

How we will evaluate the outcome: We will compare the reactions of normal unaffected people (control group) and the people who are affected

1) What was your reaction when you first saw my friend pay with pennies? Why do you think you reacted this way?
2) Did your reaction change after some time passed or was it the same the whole time? Why?

Joseph and Aarsh will each pay with pennies
Anders and Nico will both take turns taking down the answers to the questions and videotaping us