Nonconformity Has Sex Appeal for Men and Women

Nonconformists have a certain allure that attract both men and women, according to a recent study, but it has its limits.

Nonconformists have a certain allure — admit it. They don't play by society's rules whether it be by listening to an obscure band or shunning future tech by reading paperback books; the nonconformist has a certain sexual appeal to men and women.


Tom Jacobs from Pacific Standard writes that Matthew Hornsey, a University of Queensland psychologist, has the research to prove it. 

“Nonconformity is more attractive than conformity for women and men. People think that men prefer conformist women, but this impression is discrepant from reality.”

The research consisted of five studies in total. One featured 115 undergraduate students who were asked to rate profiles of 20 people to assess their attractiveness for themselves as well as how they think the opposite sex would find them. The profiles given to participants to read were tailored to imply either conformity with statements, like, "She is quite happy to go along with what others are doing," or nonconformity with statements, like, "She often does her own thing rather than fit in with the group."

The researchers write in their study, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, that results “showed that both men and women preferred nonconformist romantic partners, but women overestimated the extent to which men prefer conformist partners.” An interesting insight to say the least, which may dictate how women believe they should act in the company of men. Indeed, Hornsey and his colleagues believe it may be a mindset leftover from when “women were expected to be submissive, modest, subdued, agreeable.”

In another study, consisting of 111 students, the researchers found “participants ostensibly in a small-group interaction showed preferences for nonconformist opposite-sex targets, a pattern that was particularly evident when men evaluated women.”

Perhaps, the next time you're on a date, it may do you some good to throw out a nonconformist factoid about yourself, rather than trying to blend in. Though, how much of a nonconformist you are may have its limits, especially for women. In another recent study, researchers found men were less attracted to female war heroes.

Read more at Pacific Standard.

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