Shared beliefs about world history and cultural context
Scholars have paid considerable attention to lay beliefs and how they affect psychological functioning across diverse domains. These lay beliefs assimilate and reflect more elaborate types of discourse, including historiographic, scientific, philosophical or sociological theories exploring the sense of history and humanity's existence. A dearth of researchers have examined more general beliefs about history that people draw from in order to make sense of how and why history unfolds as it does. This chapter addresses this gap in the literature, and presents a review of existing shared beliefs about how world history unfolds across forty different countries. It examines the relations between shared beliefs about world history and social development, cultural values, and national pride. The chapter shows cross-cultural variability of these beliefs at the national level. It presents data showing how social representations of history are anchored in socio-cultural contexts and how they orient socio-psychological processes, such as collective national esteem.