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TVOL’s first podcast with Michele Gelfand explored an axis of cultural variation from “tight” (strong norms, strongly enforced) to “loose” (tolerant of individual differences). In this new podcast, we explore the distinctive blend of tightness and looseness needed to adapt to the pandemic. 

Related Material

Michele’s book: Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World

Institutional and Cultural Factors Predicting Infection Rates and Mortality of COVID-19. (OSF pre-print). Contributors: Michele Gelfand, Joshua Conrad Jackson, Xinyue Pan, Dana Nau, Chi Yue Chiu


Published On: May 5, 2020

Michele Gelfand

Michele Gelfand

Michele Gelfand is Professor of Psychology and Affiliate of the RH Smith School of Business and lead a diverse group of scholars within the Social Decision Making and Organizational Science area at the University of Maryland, College Park. Under her direction, this group studies phenomenon relating to the strength of cultural norms and cultural values, negotiation, conflict, revenge, and forgiveness, and and diversity. More recently, she has branched into the study of subjective culture in the Middle East, and founded a growing research program on tightness-looseness. Her philosophy is to incorporate as many disciplinary perspectives as possible into her work, and she and colleagues work with computer scientists, neuroscientists, political scientists, and increasingly biologists to understand all things cultural. Check out the group here, and find out how to get involved here.

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