Culture Lab


Lab Director

Michele J. Gelfand

Michele Gelfand is a Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and affiliate of the RH Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received her Ph.D. in Social/ Organizational Psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. She will be starting at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in the Fall of 2021.

Graduate Student

Xinyue Pan 

Xinyue is a fourth-year graduate student who works with Dr. Michele Gelfand. Her main research focus is using agent-based modeling approach to study the impact of cultural and ecological factors on social behaviors. Her research topics include threat, ethnocentrism, cooperation, gossip, norm change, etc. She is also interested in a variety of topics on cultural psychology and social neuroscience.

Graduate Student

Virginia Choi

Virginia is a third-year graduate student working with Dr. Michele Gelfand on the influence of social norms and culture on organizational processes. Her current research examines the multilevel influences and consequences of social norms on teams and organizations, primarily with respect to stigma, innovation, and counterproductive work behaviors. More generally, she is interested in the function and establishment of norms and the factors that influence norm change through social networks and leadership cues.



Ying Lin

Ying is a postdoctoral researcher working with Dr. Michele Gelfand on culture and norms at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Prior to joining Culture Lab, Ying obtained her PhD in Social Psychology at the University of Southern California under the mentorship of Daphna Oyserman. Ying researches the often unexpected effects that culture and situations have on reasoning and judgment. 

Graduate Student


Alex Landry

Alex Landry is a graduate student studying organizational behavior at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He is currently researching the causes and consequences of dehumanization, and its troubling presence in American political life. Alex can be reached at

Pre-doctoral research fellow

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Bastian Weitz

Bastian is a pre-doctoral research fellow working with Dr. Michele Gelfand at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has received his BSc in Psychology at the University of Groningen and has experience in social identity research focusing on intergroup contexts. His interests lie broadly in the domain of social cognition, specifically in cross-cultural work and the topics of identity threat and intergroup conflict.

Lab Manager

Emmy Denison

Emmy is the lab manager in Dr. Michele Gelfand's Culture Lab. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Purdue University in 2018. In the Culture Lab, she has had the opportunity to help develop projects that explore new applications of tightness-looseness (TL) theory, including the relationship between tightness-looseness and COVID-19 outcomes, the strength of norms on social media, and the role of TL in attitudes towards immigrants. In addition to her work as Michele's lab manager, she is also a computer science student at UMD.

Research Associate

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Dylan Pieper

Dylan is a full-time research associate working under Dr. Michele Gelfand. He is currently working on various cross-cultural and social psychology projects related to the tightness and looseness of social norms and health behaviors during the Coronavirus pandemic. Before joining the lab, Dylan Pieper graduated from The University of Northern Iowa in 2018 with a BA, majoring in psychology. He received his MA in social psychology from the same university, focusing heavily on advanced research methods, social theory, and data analytics.

Affiliated Lab Member

Jessica Fernandez

Jess is an alumna (December 2020) of the Social, Decision and Organizational Sciences program and is now a researcher at the National Institutes of Health. She received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Gettysburg College. Her general research interests include thought processes and self-regulation, social identity and norms, and group interactions.

Affiliated Lab Member

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Andrey Elster

Andrey received his PhD in Organizational Behavior from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel) in 2016. He is interested in understanding how personal values affect perception and behavior in the interpersonal as well as in organizational contexts. Currently Andrey is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland working with Dr. Michele Gelfand on the bidirectional relationships between cultural tightness-looseness and trust.

Affiliated Lab Member

Piotr Prokopowicz

Piotr is an Assistant Professor at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, specializing in organizational culture, leadership, innovation, and evidence-based management. He holds a PhD in sociology and a double MA in psychology and sociology. He’s a co-founder at Freenovation, speaker, author, and talent management consultant. As a researcher, he’s exploring the links between cultural tightness-looseness, leadership, creativity, and innovation.

The Gelfand Gang