This kind of novelty-seeking behavior can also be seen in pop culture. Have you ever noticed once a fashion trend, catchphrase, or hit song achieves widespread popularity, it suddenly becomes less appealing to us? Some experts suggest it’s this same concept that may explain why, for example, a person might be attracted to an individual with long hair in a room full of people with short hair or vice versa (via BBC). Ironically, if you look back over the decades, however, you’ll see a repeating pattern of what was once “out” suddenly becoming “in” again. This is what evolutionary biologist Kaleda Krebs Denton describes as the anti-conformity bias cycle, which only lends further evidence to the idea that humans seem to forever and always be on the look out for what deviates from the norm. That being said, some research suggests that admiration for nonconformity may not actually be so universal (via Psychological Studies). While it may be more prevalent amongst cultures that value individualism, this may not necessarily be the case within cultures centered around collectivism and community interdependence.
Of course, the concept of nonconformity goes well beyond sporting tattoos or a punk-rock wardrobe. It’s important to acknowledge that nonconformity has historically at times been used as a form of social protest and may be one factor in how a person self-identifies.