Previous research has suggested that diversity effects depend on how group members perceive their group’s composition. However, what determines how diversity is perceived is unclear. We argue that the way in which group members construe their group’s diversity is shaped by group members’ beliefs about the value in diversity. Focusing on groups with objective subgroups, we show in two studies that the more group members value diversity, the more likely they are to construe their diversity in terms of individual differences and the less likely they are to construe their diversity in terms of subgroups. We also show that diversity construal is only affected by diversity beliefs during intellectual tasks (where diversity matters), but not during physical tasks.