See Inside Scientific American Mind Volume 25, Issue 2

Embrace Your Inner Eccentric

How a desire to stand out from the crowd shapes behavior and creative thinking

These dancers from the Philippines might appear outlandish, but they are in fact signaling group membership by participating in a local festival to honor birds.


Who am I? The question seems so simple, yet it cuts to the heart of everything we do. Without an answer, we lack the inner compass that guides us through life. Decisions become arbitrary. Relationships dangle by a tenuous thread.

Introspection offers partial insight into this nebulous yet vital question. A fuller account, however, emerges from our interactions with the social environment. As we move through the world, certain people, ideas and activities resonate more than others. This mix of allegiances is ultimately what makes you you.

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content

It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Scientific American Mind Digital

Get 6 bi-monthly digital issues
+ 1yr of archive access for just $9.99

Hurry this offer ends soon! >


Email this Article


Next Article