We develop our worldviews from our very earliest interactions and hold onto them deeply.
Last updated on Jan 24 , 2021
This quick video provides a description of worldviews.
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A worldview is a collection of attitudes, values, stories and expectations about the world around us, which inform our every thought and action. Worldviews are expressed in a variety of categories -- from religion and philosophy to ethics and scientific beliefs. These beliefs are what shape our opinions, form our group identities, and cement us in the world.
Importantly, we each have a worldview. We absorb our worldviews from the culture which surrounds us, starting from our very earliest interactions. For example, as we first begin to construct our identities using lessons from parents, siblings, peers and media, we are shaping who we want to be -- even nursery rhymes told in infancy inform our identity construction. And in today's culture with the rise of social media, we have an arsenal of cultural stories at our disposal. As we intertwine our beliefs with the groups to which we wish to belong (e.g., Liberal or Conservative, Catholic or Muslim) they become our convictions, our worldviews.
For example, if you are a devout Catholic and think “that is just wrong” when you hear about someone going to an abortion clinic, your worldview is in action. Worldviews are how culture shakes out at an individual level, and since we are predisposed to think our opinions are always correct or normal, it is often in the “clashes” of worldviews that our own are exposed.
From an evolutionary perspective, belonging to a group was necessary for survival. We relied on our broader group for food and protection. To go against the group risked being "kicked out," which significantly increased one's likelihood of dying. Today, while we may not face the same threats our ancestors did, as social creatures we still hold these fears deeply and respond accordingly.
Koltko-Rivera, M. E. (2004). The psychology of worldviews. Review of general psychology, 8(1), 3-58.
Why Is It So Hard to Change People’s Minds?
Gray A. J. (2011). Worldviews. International psychiatry : bulletin of the Board of International Affairs of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 8(3), 58–60.
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