The Implicit Legacy of American Protestantism


Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology

July 2014, vol. 45, n°6, pp.992-1006

Departments: Management & Human Resources

Keywords: Cultural psychology, Social cognition, Values, Attitudes, Beliefs, Religion/morality

The heritage of a nation founded by devout Puritan Protestants has had wide-ranging effects on U.S. culture and, as experimental evidence suggests, continues to exert an implicit influence on the feelings, judgments, and behaviors of contemporary Americans. The United States is distinguished by a faith in individual merit and traditional values uncommon among economically developed democracies, both of which have been traced, in part, to the moral ideals of the founding Protestant communities. Calvinist Protestantism has further profoundly shaped American workways, including the moralization of work and the manifestation of professional norms that prescribe impersonal and unemotional workplace interactions. The implicit influence of traditional Protestant beliefs extends not only to devout American Protestants, but even to non-Protestant and less-religious Americans