The Contributing Role of Prevalent Belief Systems to Intergroup Attitudes and Behaviors
Abundant research shows that prevalent belief systems across cultures contribute to people’s levels of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. Such popular belief systems are often communicated by everyday sayings (e.g., the belief that hard work leads to success, as captured by “Madruga y verás, trabaja y tendrás” [Colombia], “Kung may tiyaga, may nilaga” [Philippines], "The early bird catches the worm" [U.S.A.]). We review the relations between intergroup processes and the following belief systems: entity theory, incremental theory, multiculturalism, colorblindness, polyculturalism, and the Protestant work ethic. We discuss factors that affect the development, maintenance, and potential change in these belief systems, and ways that this knowledge may be used to reduce prejudice are discussed.