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2 posts from May 2020

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To make a contribution: don't try to fit in

I love the idea of being the lone dissenter so other people have an opportunity to dissent as well.

The Atlantic: The Perks of Being a Weirdo, 2020-Apr by Olga Khazan

Psychologist Solomon Asch is famous for his 'conformity experiments,' but he also studied how dissenters influenced group behavior.... Having just one person who broke with the majority reduced conformity among the responses by about 80 percent. Perhaps the participants in those trials felt as though they and the dissenter could at least be weird together. Interestingly, they were less likely to conform even if the dissenter disagreed with the crowd but was still wrong. The dissenter appeared to give the participants permission to disagree. ...

In a small study, Rodica Damian, an assistant psychology professor at the University of Houston, and her colleagues had college students engage in a virtual-reality exercise in which the laws of physics didn’t apply. In this virtual world, things fell up instead of down. When compared with another group that performed an exercise in which the laws of physics functioned normally, those who had the physics-warping experience were able to come up with more creative answers to the question “What makes sound?”... Damian has a theory she’s researching: that all kinds of unusual experiences can boost creativity. 

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