"We also found that the psychological makeup of individual citizens varies in tight and loose societies," Gelfand said. "For example, individuals in tight societies are more prevention focused, have higher self-regulation strength and have higher needs for order and self-monitoring abilities than individuals in loose societies."
These attributes, Gelfand said, help people to adapt to the level of constraint, or latitude, in their cultural context, and at the same time, reinforce it.
The research team combined all these measures in a multi-level model that shows how tight and loose systems are developed and maintained.
Gelfand said knowledge about these cultural differences can be invaluable to many people--from diplomats and global managers to military personal, immigrants and travelers--who have to traverse the tight-loose divide.
"When we understand why cultures, and the individuals in those cultures, are the way they are, it helps us to become less judgmental. It helps us to understand and appreciate societal differences."
|Contact: Bobbie Mixon|
National Science Foundation