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An Evening with Michele Gelfand

Celebrated cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand takes us on an epic journey through human cultures, offering a startling new view of the world and ourselves.

This August, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand as she presents her new book, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World. This event is free and open to the public

About the Book:

With a mix of brilliantly conceived studies and surprising on-the-ground discoveries, she shows that 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.

Why are clocks in Germany so accurate while those in Brazil are frequently wrong? Why do New Zealand’s women have the highest number of sexual partners? Why are “Red” and “Blue” States really so divided? Why was the Daimler-Chrysler merger ill-fated from the start? Why is the driver of a Jaguar more likely to run a red light than the driver of a plumber’s van? Why does one spouse prize running a “tight ship” while the other refuses to “sweat the small stuff?”

In search of a common answer, Gelfand has spent two decades conducting research in more than fifty countries. Across all age groups, family variations, social classes, businesses, states and nationalities, she’s identified a primal pattern that can trigger cooperation or conflict. Her fascinating conclusion: behavior is highly influenced by the perception of threat.

With an approach that is consistently riveting, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers thrusts many of the puzzling attitudes and actions we observe into sudden and surprising clarity.

About the Author:

Michele Gelfand is a distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Gelfand uses a variety of methods to understand how cultures vary around the world and with what consequence for groups. Her work has been cited over 20,000 times and has been featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, National Public Radio, Voice of America, Fox News, NBC News, ABC News, The Economist, De Standard, among other outlets. Her work on tightness-looseness was cited as one of the most important social science theories explaining the U.S. election in 2016 in the New Yorker.

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