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Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World with Michele Gelfand

Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland Michele Gelfand will discuss her new book, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World. Her pioneering research into cultural norms has been cited thousands of times in the academic press, and has been featured in The New York TimesWashington PostThe Boston GlobeThe GuardianHarvard Business Review, and on NPR, among other outlets.

As a cultural psychologist, Dr. Gelfand takes us on an epic journey through human cultures, offering a startling new view of the world and ourselves. 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 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. She discusses the tight-loose trade-off of order and openness and how it applies to everything from parenting to politics. 

**Book signing to follow. Books will be available for sale at the event.

Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 3:30pm

Strong Hall, Auditorium 101
1621 West Cumberland Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations


Humanities & Social Sciences, Science, Business & Entrepreneurship


Current Students, Faculty & Staff, General Public


Contact Name

Catherine Crawley

Contact Email

Contact Phone


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