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Scientists Say Why the Eccentric Earns Our Respect — Dave’s Diary

There are those times when it’s best to blend in with the crowd.  You know, the “When in Rome—do as in Rome” or the “Go along to get along” kinda times.  But then, there are other times to stand out like a sore thumb.Being the oddball can have its advantages, according to a new Harvard study. Researchers say they’ve found that standing out in certain circumstances can boost an individual’s standing.

In their experiments researchers found, for example, that students paid more respect to a bearded professor wearing a T-shirt than to a clean-shaven one who wore a tie. Now why would that be?  Expectations met? Stereotypes? Researchers explain, in order to think that the person’s a big shot; you have to understand that the person is willingly engaging in this nonconforming conduct.

Another way to say it is that you have to know the rules well enough to know when it’s ok to break them.

Warrick Page/Getty Images

Additionally, researchers say the environment must give clues that suggest a person’s talent or wealth. However there are limitations to how much people will believe.  Therefore the following advice–Don’t talk a lot if you have high status. People will assume you’re competent and when you talk, they will listen to you!


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