It Is Good to Stand Up for Your Beliefs Against Opposition: Study
A new study from the University of Buffalo shows that it’s an overall positive psychological experience to stand up for your core values in the face of opposition. Previous studies on the topic focused mostly on behavior and self-reported attitudes; they found that it is uncomfortable to hold beliefs different from those of the majority, motivating people to conform.
But the University of Buffalo study used psychophysiological measures, assessing cardiovascular responses. It also set up two different ways of thinking about the situation. Some participants were told to fit in with the group, others were told to assert their individuality.
“When participants’ goal was to fit in with a group of people who disagreed with them, their cardiovascular responses were consistent with a psychological threat state,” said Mark Seery, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Buffalo who led the study, in a university news release. “In contrast, when the goal was to be an individual among a group of people who disagreed with them, their cardiovascular responses were consistent with challenge.
“You may have to work to reach a goal, but when you experience challenge, it is more like feeling invigorated than overwhelmed. It is consistent with seeing something to gain rather than focusing on what can be lost.”