Culture & Psychology
I was trained under the guidance of Harry Triandis and am interested in understanding what makes human groups similar and different in order to broaden psychological science, as well as to inform policy. My early work focused on the distinction of vertical and horizontal individualism and collectivism (see the scale here). Our team has recently begun to systematically investigate the strength of norms across cultures, or what is referred to as cultural tightness-looseness (TL). Teaming up with partners around the world and from different disciplines, we are doing research on the ecological and historical factors that promote TL at both the national and state level, the neurobiological and genetic underpinnings of TL, the evolutionary basis of TL, and the implications of TL for organizations, expatriates, and for societal well-being. I also research subjective culture (e.g., honor, wasta, fatalism) in the Middle East. We use laboratory, field, computational, EEG, and fRMI to examine our research questions.
I also edit the series Advances in Cultural Psychology which summarizes important research programs in the emerging field of Cultural Psychology.
See papers in this area below.
Gelfand, M. J. (2021, in press). Cultural evolutionary adaptations to societal threat. Current Directions in Psychological Science.
Elster, A., & Gelfand, M. J. (2020). When guiding principles do not guide: The moderating effects of cultural tightness on value-behavior links. Journal of Personality. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12584
Gelfand, M. J. & Denison, E. E. (2020) Moving beyond the West vs. the rest: Understanding variation within Asian groups and its societal consequences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2000930117
Gelfand, M. J., Caluori, N., Jackson, J. C., & Taylor, M. K. (2020). The cultural evolutionary trade-off of ritualistic synchrony. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 375(1805), 20190432. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0432
Van Bavel, J. J., Baicker, K., Boggio, P. S., Capraro, V., Cichocka, A., Cikara, M., Crockett, M. J., Crum, A. J., Douglas, K. M., Druckman, J. N., Drury, J., Dube, O., Ellemers, N., Finkel, E. J., Fowler, J. H., Gelfand, M., Han, S., Haslam, S. A., Jetten, J., … Willer, R. (2020). Using social and behavioural science to support COVID-19 pandemic response. Nature Human Behaviour, 4(5), 460–471. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-0884-z
Jackson, J. C., Gelfand, M., & Ember, C. (2020). A global analysis of cultural tightness in non-industrial societies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287, 20201036. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/9s57z
Salvador, C. E., Mu, Y., Gelfand, M. J., & Kitayama, S. (2020). When norm violations are spontaneously detected: An electrocortical investigation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 15(3), 319–327. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsaa035
Habersaat, K. B., Betsch, C., Danchin, M., Sunstein, C. R., Böhm, R., Falk, A., Brewer, N. T., Omer, S. B., Scherzer, M., Sah, S., Fischer, E. F., Scheel, A. E., Fancourt, D., Kitayama, S., Dubé, E., Leask, J., Dutta, M., MacDonald, N. E., Temkina, A., … Butler, R. (2020). Ten considerations for effectively managing the COVID-19 transition. Nature Human Behaviour, 4(7), 677–687. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-0906-x
Stamkou, E., van Kleef, G. A., Homan, A. C., Gelfand, M. J., van de Vijver, F. J., van Egmond, M. C., ... & Cantarero, K. (2019). Cultural collectivism and tightness moderate responses to norm violators: Effects on power perception, moral emotions, and leader support. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 45(6), 947-964.