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SIOP Fellow Michele Gelfand Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Michele J. Gelfand, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Psychology at University of Maryland, is part of an illustrious group including Former First Lady Michelle Obama and more than 200 other luminaries elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on April 17, 2019.

Dr. Gelfand is a long-standing member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) and was elected a SIOP Fellow in 2007. More recently, Outgoing SIOP President Dr. Talya Bauer honored her with a Scientist Practitioner Presidential Recognition Award at the 34th Annual SIOP Conference, held April 4-6 in National Harbor, Maryland.

The primary criteria for election to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences are excellence in the field and a record of continued accomplishment. Those involved in nominations and elections are also charged with recommending a slate of member candidates s that is multidimensionally diverse. Like SIOP, the Academy embraces both practitioners and scholars as members.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded during the American Revolution by a group of scholar-patriots including John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, and John Hancock. Their goal was to “cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.”

Those elected to the Academy join with other experts in cross-disciplinary efforts to create knowledge and to provide insights for shaping public policy and advancing the public good.  
Michele Gelfand is right at home in a cross-collaborative environment.  Her culture lab at the University of Maryland employs experts in experimental, field, qualitative, neuroscience, and computational work.

“Whether working with biologists and social psychologists on computational models of negotiation in Warsaw, with evolutionary game theorists to understand culture revenge, with political scientists to understand the mediation of intercultural disputes, with neuroscientists to understand how culture becomes ‘embrained,’  or criminologists to understand the cultural psychology of terrorism,” Gelfand said, “My personal and intellectual development has been greatly enhanced through multicultural and multidisciplinary collaborations and friendships.” 

Her election to the Academy follows last fall’s publication of Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World.  The book, called “a useful and engaging take on human behavior” by Kirkus Reviews, is an extension of Gelfand’s work previously covered in Science, about a 33-nation study on psychological tightness-looseness.

In the foreword, Gelfand asserts a central thesis, “The strength of a culture’s norms isn’t random or accidental. It has hidden logic that makes perfectly good sense.”  She also suggests, provocatively, that “Tight-loose not only explains the world around us but actually can predict the conflicts that will erupt—and suggests ways to avoid them.”

Michele Gelfand and the other members of the 239th class of American Academy of Arts and Sciences will be inducted at a ceremony in October 2019 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The roster of members, available here, is a who’s who of important thinkers in every field throughout the history of this country.

Gelfand said, that as a cross-cultural psychologist, Margaret Mead is the historical member she finds most inspirational. “It’s astonishing to see the early members, from 1780 like John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington!  I'm honored to be in the same 2019 class as Michelle Obama! “

Members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences are drawn from five areas including the sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, and business. Each candidate for membership must be nominated by two members and nominations are subject to three rounds of evaluation by different subsets of membership.

The Academy’s membership page proclaims, “Membership in the Academy is an honor and an opportunity,” and members regularly contribute to important policy discussions. Gelfand is looking forward to participating in Academy events and contributing to the journal, Dædalus.

Leading scholarly publications including Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the Academy of Management Journal, and the Journal of Applied Psychology have published her work. NPR, MSNBC, and Fox News have interviewed her about her research, and she has published several articles on current affairs topics in the popular press.

Contact Michele Gelfand at mgelfand@umd.eduhttps://www.michelegelfand.com/


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