An important part of life is being able to get along with each other.  But conflicts and misunderstandings, unfortunately, do happen.  While resolving disagreement and discord can be difficult for even those of us who share a common nation, language or culture, doing so between people who don’t share such commonalities can be even harder.

How can we achieve cross-cultural understanding?  What do we need to know to bring people with different backgrounds together?

A new international study led by University of Maryland Psychology Professor Michele Gelfand may provide some insight and explain these differences that could bridge the gaps and help us better understand people of all backgrounds and cultures.

Dividing countries into those that tend to have restrictive societies and others with less restrictive societies, Professor Gelfand and her colleagues looked at the differences and similarities of nations, the factors that determine how permissive a country is,  and – in the end – how we might better learn to get along with each other.

This weekend, on the “Science World” radio program, Professor Gelfand talks about this study and tells us that the more threats a society has been exposed to, the more likely it is to be restrictive.

Listen to an excerpt of our interview here:

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Or you can listen to the full version here:

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Other stories we cover on the “Science World” radio program this week include: