Deviant Acts in Society: Examples & Concept

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Histrionic Personality Disorder: Symptoms, Treatment & Case Studies

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Deviant Acts:…
  • 1:45 Deviance & Culture
  • 2:47 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up


Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Did you know that in some cultures, wearing all black is considered a deviant act? Learn more about deviant acts in society from examples. Then, test your knowledge with a quiz.

Deviant Acts: Definition and Examples

Jane and Molly were childhood friends who grew up in the same neighborhood. Like most teenage girls in their neighborhood, Jane and Molly had bubbly personalities, wore a lot of bright colors, and had optimistic personalities. During their junior year in high school, Jane began hanging with a group of friends who were known for breaking the rules. Jane became upset with a teacher and, at her new friends' encouragement, decided to start a small fire outside the teacher's house.

However the wind picked up, causing the fire to spread fast and destroy the entire house. Jane was eventually arrested and charged with arson. After Jane's arrest, Molly's personality changed. Molly dyed her hair jet black, dressed in all black clothing, and wore black lipstick. This made Molly stand out from the rest of her community and caused much tension between Molly and her parents. Both Molly's and Jane's behaviors are examples of deviant acts in society.

Deviant behaviors, or deviant acts in society refer to behaviors that violate social norms and expectations. Deviance can be something as small as dressing in gothic clothing or something as serious as burning someone's house down. Each society has formal laws and rules, and informal social norms in place that aim to deter people from committing deviant acts.

For example, there is a written law that states that arson is a punishable crime (formal law). Though there is not a written law, dressing in all black clothing and makeup violates the dress code that the members of Molly's neighborhood follow (informal social norm). So who determines what behaviors are deviant?

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Free 5-day trial

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account