Always interesting for us life-long nonconformist types to find justifications for our beliefs and behaviors.
But there was something about the title and the James Dean reference that I found a bit suspicious. It's kind of an implication that juvenile personal rebelliousness that edges on just plain destructiveness is in the same category as political reformations or spiritual movements.
Reading the article with attention to detail wasn't the boost for nonconformity I'd hoped. There were only 28 people in the study. In what are called "robust" samples in statistics, the sample has to be representative of the entire population being studied. It also must be ramdomly chosen so as to eliminate any potential for bias. There is no indication of such in the story. Which doesn't mean the researchers didn't use good statistical protocol, but we don't know without better reporting. However, it sounds like this was the first time this was done. So the sample is not too likely to be representative.
The article did mention that damage to the area of the brain being scanned results in "inappropriate behavior" and "personality disorders." That sticking to an opinion regardless of what experts were claiming also showed up at the same spot. But I think that even the professor involved with the research who said that we need a few rebels or there wouldn't be progress is conflating two very different types of human.
The brain damage types referred to are those who who cannot read social cues. It's not that they're principled nonconformists. It's just that they are self-centered because they can't interpret from body language how others feel. Which comes off as not caring. And they may not.
There is a big difference between sticking to your guns because you know the "expert" is wrong. It's another thing to refuse to consider the evidence because it does't fit with your prejudices. Like bigots do. Or religious fundamentalists. Or even sometimes scientists who reject new information.
Or because you have the musical taste of a little kid. Appropriate to them, but not for a mature adult. The "expert" in that case may be someone who has perfect pitch and can tell if a singer is sharp or flat. There is also a difference between personal likes and dislikes and the informed opinion of someone who really knows the subject. Someone can defend heavy metal or rap because they like it. And no, I'm not saying these genres don't have their own standards. But the expertise of a music PhD, or a classical or jazz musician, is of a whole different order of magnitude.