Compensatory Nonconformity: Self-Uncertainty and Low Implicit Self-Esteem Increase Adoption and Expression of Minority Opinions

Compensatory Nonconformity: Self-Uncertainty and Low Implicit Self-Esteem Increase Adoption and Expression of Minority Opinions

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
2012, Vol. 48, Issue 6, Pages 1300-1309

The present studies tested whether people, particularly those who are most vulnerable to self-threats as indicated by low implicit self-esteem, adopt and express minority opinions to compensate for self-uncertainty. In Studies 1 through 3, low implicit self-esteem participants who were made to feel uncertain about themselves as individuals (versus uncertain about a self-irrelevant issue in Study 1, certain about themselves in Study 2, or uncertain about their group memberships in Study 3) expressed more disagreement with others’ opinions. Additionally, Study 3 demonstrated that this effect is specific to minority opinions and does not emerge on majority opinions. In Study 4, the relation between self-uncertainty and disagreement with others’ opinions was strongest among participants with both low implicit and high explicit self-esteem, who respond to self-threats in particularly defensive ways.