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Bill Gabrenya

Two short stories about Michele Gelfand

Story 1

I first met Michele at a meeting of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research in the early 1990s when she was still a student with Harry Triandis. John Adamopoulos and I attended her presentation, possibly some early work on the tight-loose dimension, after which we both just said, “wow.” As in: a star is born.

Story 2

One of my pastimes has been making videos of conference presentations, so I recorded Michele’s paper summarizing her 2007 Annual Review of Psychology chapter with Miriam Erez and Zeynep Aycan at the 2006 Spetses, Greece Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology. It was classic Gelfand: a rapid-fire dash through a literature replete with multiple moderators and qualifications. I have used segments of her talk in my cross-cultural I/O classes ever since to accompany reading this or another Gelfand article. I show the video not so much for its content, which students can just as well read, but to demonstrate that really smart people can talk really fast and still make sense, whereas the rest of us have to choose one or the other.

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