Culture Lab


Michele J. Gelfand

Lab Director

Michele Gelfand is Professor of Psychology and affiliate of the RH Smith School of Business and is a Distinguished University Scholar Teacher at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received her Ph.D. in Social/ Organizational Psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.

Yan Mu

Postdoctoral Researcher

Yan Mu is a post-doc currently working with Dr. Gelfand. She is from China and received her Ph.D. in psychology from Peking University in 2011. Yan investigates 1) the neural and genetic basis of human social behavior by using neuroimaging methods (e.g. fMRI, EEG); 2) how different cultures shape our brains with neuroimaging methods; 3) the neuromolecular basis of synchrony behavior and its relationships with other factors such as gender, ingroup bias, social threat and culture value by using hyperscanning technique.

Ren Li

Graduate Student

Ren is a fourth year in the program, and works with Michele Gelfand. Her currently research focuses on acculturation and cultural comparison in consumer behavior. She is also interested in cross-cultural psychology of moral judgment and decision making.

Jasmine Wheeler

Graduate Student

Jasmine is a fourth year graduate student in the SDOS program working with Dr. Michele Gelfand. Her research interests include diversity, leadership, race, and power. More specifically, she is interested in how to maximize the success of diversity efforts and ensure that women and minorities in the workplace feel empowered and have the ability to take advanced leadership roles. Awards include: NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (awarded 2014), and Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship (awarded 2015)

Xinyue Pan 

Graduate Student

Xinyue is a second-year graduate student working with Dr. Gelfand. She gained her bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Economics from Peking University. She is currently working on multiple projects including cross-cultural differences on tightness-looseness, stigma processing, social norm, and punishment, using both behavioral and neuroscience methods. She is also using evolutionary game theoretic models to study the change of social norm and the evolution of gossip and ethnocentrism.

Virginia Choi

Graduate Student

Virginia grew up in Southern California and graduated from Smith College with a BA in Philosophy. She researches the influence of culture and social norms on organizational processes, individual evaluations, and phenomena like stigma. More generally, she is interested in the function and establishment of norms and the factors that influence norm change.

Jessica Fernandez

Affiliated Lab Member

Jess is a fourth year graduate student in the Social, Decision and Organizational Sciences program. 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.

Ben Levine

Affiliated Lab Member

Ben is a second year graduate student who works primarily with James Grand. His research interests are focused on team and leadership processes. Currently, he is working on projects related to team adaptability, leadership perceptions, and tightness-looseness.

Piotr Prokopowicz

Affiliated Lab Member

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.

Andrey Elster

Affiliated Lab Member

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.

Emmy Denison

Lab Manager

Emmy is the lab manager in the Culture Lab. She graduate from Purdue University in 2018 with a BS in psychology. Her research interests include topics related to diversity and inclusion, stereotyping and prejudice, and free speech. She is interested in exploring how social norms and attitudes regarding these topics vary across social groups and cultures. 

Yoon Young Sim

Research Assistant

Yoon Young is a full-time research associate working under Dr. Michele Gelfand. She graduated from Skidmore College in 2016 with a major in psychology and a minor in business administration. She received an MA in experimental psychology from College of William and Mary. Her research interests include motivation and emotions, rivalry and competition, and decision-making and negotiations in the workplace.

The Gelfand Gang

Our Undergraduate Research Assistants

Bajazit Alickovic

Artista Baker

Allison Seo

Liuxin Yan