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The current research tests the prediction that nonconformity can reflect engagement with rather than disengagement from social groups. We present two studies that contained indices of both nonconformity and disengagement to examine their relationship under different circumstances and to dissociate two forms of nonconformity: individually oriented vs. collectively oriented. Study 1 demonstrates that thinking about how a group norm may cause individual harm triggers a type of nonconformity that is associated with disengagement from the group, whereas thinking about how a norm may cause collective harm triggers a type of nonconformity that is not associated with disengagement. Study 2 investigates the relationship between nonconformity and disengagement among group members that vary in their level of collective identification. We demonstrate that whereas nonconformity among weakly identified group members is associated with disengagement, this is not the case among strong identifiers.
Journal: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology - Volume 48, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 316–322