Deutsch: Ethnozentrismus / Español: Etnocentrismo / Português: Etnocentrismo / Français: Ethnocentrisme / Italiano: Etnocentrismo

Ethnocentrism can be defined as: making false assumptions about others' ways based on our own limited experience.

The feeling that one's group has a mode of living, values, and patterns of adaptation that are superior to those of other groups. It is coupled with a generalized contempt for members of other groups. Ethnocentrism may manifest itself in attitudes of superiority or sometimes hostility. Violence, discrimination, proselytizing, and verbal aggressiveness are other means whereby ethnocentrism may be expressed. It is a belief in the superiority of one's own ethnic and cultural group, and a corresponding disdain for all other groups.Ethnocentrism is the practice of looking at the world as if your own cultures viewpoint is the most valid and perceptive, and therefore that other cultures are less sophisticated and somehow inferior in the way they view the world and in things they do.

Ethnocentrism in psychology refers to the tendency to view one's own cultural group as superior to others and to judge other cultures by the standards and values of one's own culture. This cognitive bias often leads to a lack of understanding and appreciation for cultural differences, potentially resulting in prejudice and discrimination against those from other cultural backgrounds.


Ethnocentrism is a concept widely studied within social psychology, highlighting how individuals perceive and evaluate their own cultural norms, practices, and values as universal or inherently better than those of other cultures. This bias can manifest in various ways, from subtle preferences for one's own cultural products and practices to outright rejection and devaluation of other cultures' ways of life.

Understanding ethnocentrism is crucial for exploring the dynamics of intergroup relations, prejudice, and cultural identity. It plays a significant role in shaping individuals' attitudes and behaviors towards members of other cultural groups, influencing everything from social policies and international relations to everyday interpersonal interactions.

Application Areas

Ethnocentrism has implications across several areas within the psychological context, including:

  • Intercultural Communication: Understanding the effects of ethnocentrism is vital for improving communication and interaction between people from different cultural backgrounds. Training programs often aim to increase cultural awareness and reduce ethnocentric attitudes to foster more effective and respectful communication.

  • Social Identity Theory: Ethnocentrism is related to concepts in social identity theory, which explores how individuals' self-concepts are influenced by their membership in social groups, including cultural groups. Ethnocentrism can strengthen in-group cohesion but also lead to out-group discrimination.

  • Conflict Resolution: In contexts of intergroup conflict, ethnocentrism can exacerbate tensions and hinder conflict resolution efforts. Programs aimed at reducing ethnocentrism can help in peacebuilding and reconciliation processes by promoting empathy and understanding across cultural divides.

Well-Known Examples

  • The Robbers Cave Experiment: This classic social psychology experiment demonstrated how competition and exclusive group identity can lead to ethnocentric attitudes, which were successfully reduced through cooperative cross-group activities.

  • Cultural Sensitivity Training: Many organizations implement cultural sensitivity or competence training programs designed to reduce ethnocentric views and improve intercultural interactions among employees.

Treatment and Risks

Ethnocentrism poses risks to social cohesion and intercultural understanding, potentially leading to discrimination, prejudice, and social conflict. Strategies to mitigate ethnocentrism include education that promotes cultural awareness, empathy training, and experiences that encourage positive interactions between diverse cultural groups.

Examples of Sentences

  • "Ethnocentrism can hinder effective communication between people from different cultural backgrounds."
  • "Reducing ethnocentrism is essential for fostering global understanding and cooperation."
  • "Cultural sensitivity training aims to address and mitigate ethnocentric biases."

Similar Terms or Synonyms

  • Cultural bias
  • Cultural superiority
  • In-group bias


Ethnocentrism is a psychological phenomenon where individuals view their own culture as superior to others, leading to prejudice and discrimination against other cultural groups. It is a critical area of study in social psychology, with significant implications for intercultural communication, social identity, and conflict resolution. Addressing ethnocentrism through education and positive intercultural experiences is essential for promoting a more inclusive and understanding global society.