Takemura (2014)

Takemura, K. (竹村幸祐) (2014).
Being different leads to being connected: On the adaptive function of uniqueness in "open" societies.
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 45, 1579-1593. 
doi: 10.1177/0022022114548684
The current research proposes that high need for uniqueness (NFU) brings individuals positive life outcomes by helping them be connected with, rather than isolated from, others in societies where social relationships are mobile and generally open to outsiders. In societies characterized by a high mobility of relationships (relational mobility) that may result in market-like competitive circumstances (e.g., America), NFU may increase chances of social success by leading individuals to develop their unique “selling points.” In contrast, high NFU may bring worse results in closed societies (e.g., Japan) because of the associated risk of being ostracized. This hypothesis was examined and confirmed by three studies that employed cross-national as well as cross-regional comparisons within a single nation. A pilot study first confirmed that for societies higher in relational mobility, a high NFU person was viewed more favorably as a friend. Studies 1 and 2 found that NFU was more positively associated with life satisfaction, relationship satisfaction (Study 2), as well as income (Study 2) in societies higher in relational mobility.