In this section, we describe different types of norms and the treatment of norms in multi-agent systems. We also describe the work related to norm emergence.
Types of Norms
Due to multidisciplinary interest in norms, several definitions for norms exist. Habermas (1985), one of the renowned sociologists, identified norm regulated actions as one of the four action patterns in human behaviour. A norm to him means fulfilling a generalized expectation of behaviour, which is a widely accepted definition for social norms. Researchers have divided norms into different categories. Tuomela (1995) has categorized norms into the following categories.
Rule norms are imposed by an authority based on an agreement between the members (e.g., one has to pay taxes). Social norms apply to large groups such as a whole society (e.g., one should not litter). Moral norms appeal to one’s conscience (e.g., one should not steal or accept bribe). Prudential norms are based on rationality (e.g., one ought to maximize one’s expected utility). When members of a society violate the societal norms, they may be punished. Many social scientists have studied why norms are adhered. Some of the reasons for norm adherence include:
Fear of authority;
Rational appeal of the norms; and
Feelings such as shame, embarrassment and guilt that arise because of nonadherence.
Elster (1989) categorizes norms into consumption norms (e.g., manners of dress), behaviour norms (e.g., norm against cannibalism), norms of reciprocity (e.g., gift-giving norm), norms of cooperation (e.g., voting and tax compliance) and so forth.