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Popular Press

Popular press articles by Dr. Michele J. Gelfand

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Opinion: Can the diaries of ordinary people be used to bridge cultural divides?

Words that carry weight: In a University of Maryland study, Pakistanis and Americans who read diaries from the others’ culture often came away with a more positive and tolerant perspective.

October 25, 2019

Los Angeles Times

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Could climate change fuel the rise of right-wing nationalism?

When people feel threatened, they’re more receptive to politicians who espouse xenophobic rhetoric.

September 25, 2019

The Conversation

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Opinion: The science behind how Trump turns our unfounded fears into a potent political weapon

Extremely rare but vivid threats often loom large in the human mind.

September 16, 2019

Los Angeles Times

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Understanding Cultural Differences Around Social Norms

Dr. Gelfand answers reader questions in Behavioral Scientist's "Ask a Behavioral Scientist" series

September 9, 2019

Behavioral Scientist

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This is how Tesla can improve its company culture

This psychology professor and her research team argues that it’s not about remaking the company, but introducing structure without compromising on Tesla’s commitment to innovate.

June 10, 2019

Fast Company

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Who was behind Sri Lanka's Easter Terrorist Attacks?

While the Islamic State has claimed responsibility, the real story is a bit more complicated than that.

May 12, 2019

National Interest

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

On Equal Pay Day, we rightly focus on how a woman would have to work over three months more in order to make what her male counterpart did last year for the same full time work — a gender pay gap that amounts to about $900 billion in annual lost earnings for women holding full-time jobs. But inequities in the workplace go far beyond wage disparity.

April 2, 2019

TIME

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Culture as the menacing force behind today’s crazy politics

A book excerpt and interview with Michele Gelfand, an author and psychologist at the University of Maryland

January 28, 2019

The Economist

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

According to a new book by cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand, “Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World,” much of the diversity in the way we think and act derives from a key difference—how tightly or loosely we adhere to social norms. Looking a countries, states, cities, workplaces and even families, Gelfand shows how tight and loose cultures shape our entire lives, and play a big role in the decisions we make around where we live, what company we work for and how we approach others.

January 28, 2019

Glassdoor

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A Big-Picture Look at Social Rules

Research on how people make and break rules can help us understand each other.

December 27, 2018

Psychology Today

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Radicalism and Cultural Homelessness

Events like the 2015 Paris attacks, the 2015 San Bernardino shootings, the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting, the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and others since are seared into our memories. While many details of these attacks were different, they do have a striking commonality: these attacks were perpetrated by immigrant residents or citizens of the targeted country. Such tragedies raise a puzzling question: what would make someone turn against their own country?

December 17, 2018

Minerva Research Initiative

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An upper-class mindset doesn’t make you classy

In a study of traffic patterns, researchers at the University of California found that drivers of luxury cars were far more likely to cut off other cars than were lower status cars.

November 27, 2018

Boston Globe

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Threat, fear, and the evolutionary appeal of autocrats

These days, it seems like the best path to political success is to become an autocrat.

October 4, 2018

The Hill

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One Reason Mergers Fail: The Two Cultures Aren’t Compatible

Amazon’s 2017 acquisition of Whole Foods was met with a lot of fanfare. In the words of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, the partnership was “love at first sight.” A year later, such optimism seems hard to find at Whole Foods.

October 2, 2018

Harvard Business Review

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Here’s the science behind the Brexit vote and Trump’s rise

My research shows that when people feel threatened they want ‘tighter’ social norms, with profound consequences for politics

September 17, 2018

The Guardian

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The answer to this single question will help you understand a company’s entire culture

Is your organization “tight” or “loose”?

September 14, 2018

Linkedin

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Is Your Organization Tight or Loose? How to Tell—and Ways to Fix It

We spend many of our waking hours in organizations, but we rarely think about the underlying cultural DNA that is guiding our behavior at work.

September 11, 2018

Fortune

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After 9/11, Americans United to Protect the Country. Today, We're Divided By Threats That Don't Exist

Seventeen years ago today, 9/11 brought America together. We also tightened the rules of our country dramatically.

September 11, 2018

TIME

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A surprising reason for the rise of ISIS

ISIS filled a vital cultural need. Its leaders promised, and delivered, badly needed social order in areas reeling from disintegration.

July 26, 2018

CNN

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States are not divided by red or blue — a deeper difference came way before politics

The red state-blue state dividing line between U.S. states ignores a much deeper history and psychology that each state possesses.

July 11, 2018

CNBC