Date of this Version
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
People often diverge from members of other social groups: They select cultural tastes (e.g., possessions, attitudes, or behaviors) that distinguish them from outsiders and abandon tastes when outsiders adopt them. But while divergence is pervasive, most research on the propagation of culture is based on conformity. Consequently, it is less useful in explaining why people might abandon tastes when others adopt them. The 7 studies described in this article showed that people diverge to avoid signaling undesired identities. A field study, for example, found that undergraduates stopped wearing a particular wristband when members of the “geeky” academically focused dormitory next door started wearing them. Consistent with an identity-signaling perspective, the studies further showed that people often diverge from dissimilar outgroups to avoid the costs of misidentification. Implications for social influence, identity signaling, and the popularity and diffusion of culture are discussed.
"This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record."
Berger, J. A. (2008). Who Drives Divergence? Identity Signaling, Outgroup Dissimilarity, and the Abandonment of Cultural Tastes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95 (3), 593-607. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1683
Date Posted: 27 November 2017
This document has been peer reviewed.