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New study describes ways nonconformity can define individuals

Alan Flurry

While Americans often celebrate individuality in general, a new study from psychology shows that Americans tend to think more positively about mavericks than contrarians.

According to the recent University of Georgia study, not all nonconformists are the same. Although on the surface, several “stand out” individuals may look the same, they are likely different from one another in several important ways.

Across multiple studies, researchers examined stereotypes about two types of nonconformists: mavericks and contrarians. Lead author and associate professor of psychology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Brian Haas said that understanding how nonconformists are stereotyped can not only provide insight into how Americans perceive individuality, but also clarify how different types of stand out individuals are treated.

“When people are stereotyped in a box, whether it’s a maverick or a contrarian, it’s likely to come with a bunch of consequences,” Haas said. “By researching this topic using a stereotyping approach, we get a good sense of what those consequences may be.”

Great work from Dr. Haas. Continue reading the full media release...


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