Michele Gelfand used to be “a sheltered Long Island kid who only saw New York and the world through a cartoon lens.” In college, she went to London for the first time and, surprised by the culture shock, decided to learn more about what makes cultures so different around the world. Today, Gelfand is a cultural psychologist at the University of Maryland and author of Rule Breakers, Rule Makers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World, which is out on September 11th from Scribner.
Gelfand’s key insight is that “tight” societies care more and “loose” cultures care less about enforcing social norms. The Verge spoke to Gelfand about what drives cultures to be tight or loose, which one might be “better,” and what it means for politics and living online.
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