DOI: 10.1177/01461672231217630 ISSN: 0146-1672

All You Nonconformists Are (Not) All Alike: Dissociable Social Stereotypes of Mavericks and Contrarians

Brian W. Haas, W. Keith Campbell, Xiaobin Lou, Rowena J. Xia
  • Social Psychology

While some people easily align themselves with others, others find themselves less aligned with sociocultural norms (e.g., nonconformists). Though people outside the mainstream tend to capture societies’ attention, very little known is regarding how nonconformists are construed. In these studies, we investigated how different types of nonconformists are stereotyped. We sought to elucidate common and dissociable social stereotypes of two types of nonconformity; mavericks and contrarians, driven toward independence versus being different, respectively. We found that mavericks are construed as highly competent and conscientious, well suited for leadership roles, and more likely to be male, older, and satisfied with their life. Contrarians are construed as highly social, low in warmth and agreeableness, highly neurotic, well suited for roles involving creativity and self-expression, and more likely to be female, younger, and less satisfied with their lives. We situate these findings within models linking cultural context with conformity.

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