Ep. 79: Dr. Michele Gelfand - The Invisible Giant


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Jul 09 2019 46 mins   1

Other than air, what is invisible, omnipresent, affects every single human being and yet is taken for granted? The answer is the cultural norms. They are the unspoken rules of social behaviors and shared conventions that everyone is expected follow, but may be doing so without really connecting it to the WHY.

On this episode, our guest, distinguished university professor and professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, Michele Gelfand, Ph.D., discusses the concept of looser or tighter cultures and how our deep cultural programming shapes our views and informs our implicit understanding of what’s permissible in public versus private settings. In order to achieve goals we aspire, we need strong Executive Function and self-regulation skills that allow us to activate versus inhibit certain decisions and actions. However, without the true understanding of the social or cultural context or the understanding of social conventions, one might fail to comply because of having failed to code-switch.

About Dr. Michele Gelfand
Michele Gelfand is Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Gelfand uses field, experimental, computational and neuroscience methods to understand the evolution of culture and its multilevel consequences. Her work has been published in outlets such as Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Psychological Science, Nature Scientific Reports, Nature Human behavior, PLOS 1, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Applied Psychology, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Research in Organizational Behavior, Annual Review of Psychology, American Psychologist, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, among others.

Gelfand is the founding co-editor of the Advances in Culture and Psychology annual series and Frontiers of Culture and Psychology series (with CY Chiu and Ying-Yi Hong, Oxford University Press). She is the Past President of the International Association for Conflict Management, Past Division Chair of the Conflict Division of the Academy of Management, Past Treasurer of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, and co-founder of the Society for the Study of Cultural Evolution. She received the 2016 Diener award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the 2017 Outstanding International Psychologist Award from the APA, the 2019 Outstanding Cultural Psychology Award from SPSP, the 2109 Science-Practitioner award from SIOP, and the Annaliese Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation which was given to 7 scientists worldwide for outstanding contributions in their fields. Her work that was published in Science was honored with the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019.

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