Punks versus bean-counters

accountants.jpgThe discovery about punks and accountants came in two parts. The discoverers, University of Exeter psychologists Louise Pendry and Rachael Carrick, published a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology. In essence, their research is not really about punks and accountants – rather, it’s about conformity.

Pendry and Carrick’s first insight, though small and unshocking, is technically unprecedented in the annals of psychology. They got it by recruiting run-of-the-mill, non-punk, non-accountant individuals, and asking them sly questions. The answers, Pendry and Carrick say, “revealed that a category strongly associated with non-conformity was that of punks; whereas for conformity, a popular group was that of accountants”….

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.