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The Perks of Being a Weirdo

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/04/the-perks-of-being-a-weirdo/606778/

theatlantic.com

The Perks of Being a Weirdo
Chris Crandall, a psychology professor at the University of Kansas, told me that people who are on the periphery of society tend to be freer to innovate and change social norms. "Fashion norms come from the bottom up," he said. Outsiders are less concerned with what the in-crowd thinks of them, so they have more leeway to experiment.

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Not fitting in

Not fitting in

Some people credit their creative successes to being loners or rebels.

Research conducted discovered that rejection and creativity were related, but only when participants had an independent self-concept, meaning they already felt they didn't belong.

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Circumstances that promote creativity

  • Creative types of people, such as artists and writers, are more likely to be considered "odd or peculiar" as children.
  • Being considered "weird" in your culture can also raise an element of creativity called integrative complexity. Outsiders are less concerned with what the in-crowd thinks, so have more leeway to experiment. They are freer to innovate and change social norms.
  • Unusual experiences may boost creativity. People often report having breakthroughs after extreme adventures that interferes with rules and expectations.

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Dissenting viewpoints

Unusual viewpoints can boost the decision-making power of a broader group.

Experiments reveal that people are more willing to conform when they are in a group for fear of being seen as peculiar. However, when someone is willing to stand out, the dissenter appears to give the others permission to disagree.

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