Nonconformity Defines the Self: The Role of Minority Opinion Status in Self-Concept Clarity

Nonconformity Defines the Self: The Role of Minority Opinion Status in Self-Concept Clarity

By
Kimberly Rios Morrison, S. Christian Wheeler
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. March
2010, Vol. 36, Issue 3, Pages 297-308

Drawing on distinctiveness and social identity theories, the present studies tested whether minority opinion holders would have a more clearly defined sense of self than majority opinion holders. In Study 1, participants who were induced to believe that they held a minority opinion on a controversial issue had higher subsequent self-concept clarity scores than did those who were induced to believe that they held a majority opinion, controlling for self-esteem. Furthermore, the relationship between minority opinion status and self-concept clarity was strongest among participants whose opinions were highly expressive of their values (Studies 2 and 3), as well as among participants who identified strongly with the group in which they were a minority (Study 3). Theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.