Mind & Brain See Inside Embrace Your Inner Eccentric How a desire to stand out from the crowd shapes behavior and creative thinking By Hans-Peter Erb and Susanne Gebert 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. NATURE PICTURE LIBRARY 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: Buy Digital Issue 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 nature.com. Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access. ADVERTISEMENT Scientific American is a trademark of Scientific American, Inc., used with permission © 2013 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.