Female workers in action at the Pictou shipyard, Nova Scotia, January 1943. National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque. Library and Archives Canada

My research program consistently addresses the interplay between cultural value patterns and societal structures and how these influence people’s political beliefs and behavior. I first applied this to understanding ethnocentrism, incorporating the national immigration context and people’s interactions with ethnic outgroups. I found that people interpret information from their social context predominantly according to their pre-existing beliefs, thereby amplifying these. Building on these findings, I started to research the conditions under which people actually change their beliefs. I did this as part of the NWO VICI-project ‘Linking the discontented employee and the discontented citizen’ lead by Prof. Dr. Agnes Akkerman. Within this project, I showed how (responses to) workplace voice affect people’s political beliefs and found that voice experiences change people’s political beliefs for some, while not for others. Based on these findings I questioned how, why and under which conditions adult belief change takes place. Present societal developments are indicative of belief change, which highly motivates me to develop my research agenda for the coming years along these lines.