Rule Makers,

    Rule Breakers

How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World

“Groundbreaking…Anyone interested in our cultural divides will find tremendous insight here.”

Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Enlightenment Now


Professor of Psychology | University of Maryland, College Park

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I am a Professor of Psychology and Affiliate of the RH Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. Under my direction, the Culture Lab studies the strength of cultural norms, negotiation, conflict, revenge, forgiveness, and diversity. My philosophy is to incorporate as many interdisciplinary perspectives into my research. We 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.


Select Papers

Gelfand, M. J., et al. (2011). Differences between tight and loose cultures: A 33-nation study. Science, 332(6033), 1100-1104. PDF.

Harrington, J. R., & Gelfand, M. J. (2014). Tightness–looseness across the 50 united states. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201317937. PDF.

Mu, Y., Han, S., & Gelfand, M. J. (2017). The role of gamma interbrain synchrony in social coordination when humans face territorial threats. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 12(10), 1614-1623. PDF.

Gelfand, M. J., Aycan, Z., Erez, M., & Leung, K. (2017). Cross-cultural industrial organizational psychology and organizational behavior: A hundred-year journey. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(3), 514. PDF.

Gelfand, et al. (2015). Culture and getting to yes: The linguistic signature of creative agreements in the United States and Egypt. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 36(7), 967-989. PDF.

Gelfand, M. J., & Kashima, Y. (2016). Editorial overview: Culture: Advances in the science of culture and psychology. Current opinion in psychology, 8(1), 1-7. PDF.

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Popular Press

June 10, 2019

This is how Tesla can improve its company culture

Fast Company


May 12, 2019

Who was behind Sri Lanka's Easter Terrorist Attacks?

National Interest


April 2, 2019

Women Don't Just Face a Pay Gap at Work. They're Also Punished Far More Than Men



January 28, 2019

Culture as the menacing force behind today’s crazy politics

The Economist


January 28, 2019

Tight or Loose: How Culture Impacts Everything, Even Your Job



December 27, 2018

A Big-Picture Look at Social Rules

Psychology Today



Rule Makers, Rule Breakers -

Out now!

Gelfand is elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, April 2019


Gelfand is invited to join the board of the National Academy of Sciences

Gelfand receives the 2019 Outstanding Contributions to Cultural Psychology Award, SPSP, February 2019


Gelfand is named an Honorary Fellow of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, July 2018


Gelfand receives Award for Applications of Scientific Principles to the Advancement of International Business, Institute for Cross-Cultural Management, May 2018


Gelfand is named Distinguished University Professor, September 2017.


Gelfand receives the Outstanding International Psychologist Award from the APA, August 2017


Gelfand receives Academy of Management Conflict Management Most Influential Paper Award, August 2017






Feel free to contact me with the provided form. I will do my best to reply in a timely manner:

3147C Biology/Psychology Building 

University of Maryland 

4094 Campus Dr

College Park, MD 20742