Korean Society the Fifth 'Tightest in the World'

      May 30, 2011 08:37

      Korean society is the fifth most restrictive in the world after Pakistan, Malaysia, India, and Singapore, according to a study. Also referred to as "tight" cultures, such socially restrictive countries are characterized by their citizens striving to conform to social norms, while those who do not are ostracized.

      Led by University of Maryland psychology professor Michele Gelfand, the study assessed "the degree to which countries are restrictive versus permissive," and found "that it all comes down to factors that shape societal norms," with countries such as Japan, Korea, Singapore and Pakistan much tighter while others including Ukraine, Israel, Brazil and the U.S. are looser.

      The study was compiled through a survey of 6,823 people in 33 countries between 2000 and 2003 on a variety of situations, such as kissing in a restaurant, singing in public or talking loudly in libraries.

      Tight societies, such as Pakistan and Malaysia, tend to be ruled by oppressive governments or regulated by strict laws. Countries that lack natural resources or are frequently hit by natural disasters or war are also more likely to have tight cultures.

      The results of the study were published in the latest issue of the journal Science.

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