Global Identity in an Uncertain World

The central goal of the research is to determine how experiences on campus at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) affect the beliefs and attitudes among enrolled local and international students over the course of their education.

The recent resurgence of ethno-nationalist sentiment from India to Brazil to the US and across the industrialized West has brought a retreat from universalist values, and an international outlook assumed to naturally accompany globalization. Rather than the easy transfer of liberal norms and ‘post-materialist’ values from more to less developed countries, the rise of right-wing populism has challenged openness and globalism at the very heart of advanced democracy itself. Against this backdrop, one pressing question concerns how values, identities, and socio-political attitudes are developing among the next generation of leaders across the world. Applying a social psychological lens, we address this by focusing on the student population of NYUAD, an academically selective and uniquely diverse (geographically and socioeconomically) liberal arts setting, arguably the best test case for the development of the kind of cosmopolitan outlooks the world needs now more than ever.

The overarching aim of this project is to conduct the first-ever systematic, longitudinal examination of the development of values, beliefs, and identities among a high-achieving international student sample in a global university setting. This will enable us to address the following general question, along with related sub-questions:

What is the impact of studying at an international elite university setting in the Middle East on the development of cosmopolitan values, attitudes, and identities?


  • How do experiences at a global liberal arts university influence the development and/or crystallization of political attitudes as they relate to national and international affairs?
  • What is the influence of contact with students from different ethnic, national, and religious backgrounds on attitudes and behaviors toward different social groups?
  • What is the influence of exposure to a diverse university setting in the Middle East on identification and solidarity at the sub-national (e.g., gender, ethnicity, social class), national, and international levels?
  • What are the underlying psychological processes involved in any relationships observed, and what does this mean for the potential for universities to act as a site of improvement of the development of cosmopolitan attitudes in the next generation of global citizens?


The study will consist of two parts: design and conduct of an original longitudinal survey and paired analysis with data from a cross-national, over time archival survey. Students’ university experiences and activities, along with their attitudes, beliefs, and values, will be measured using self-report survey methodology (Qualtrics software) and subsequently tracked over the course of their education at NYUAD through a series of follow-up surveys.

Symbolic Racism 2000 (SR2K), Scale & Instructions

To the Researcher:

My colleague David Sears and I published this scale in Political Psychology (Henry & Sears, 2002) in response to the many critiques that have been presented concerning previous uses of symbolic racism items, including the Modern Racism scale (McConahay, 1988).

We deliberately created the scale to have scaling properties to help prevent response biases and general mindless response patterns, and to allow for some flexibility for the scientist who may wish to use variations of this scale.

Expand on the links below for the scale and notes on how to combine the items into a scale. The scaling instructions were published in Sears & Henry (2005).

Thank you for considering use of this scale in your research. Happy data collecting!