UW News


December 12, 2018

Attention, please! Anticipation of touch takes focus, executive skills

A study of 6- to 8-year-old children by the University of Washington and Temple University found that the anticipation of touch was associated with executive function skills such as selective attention and working memory. Photo of children's hands.

A study by the University of Washington and Temple University examines what happens in children’s brains when they anticipate a touch to the hand, and relates this brain activity to the executive functions the child demonstrates on other mental tasks.


December 11, 2018

What social stress in monkeys can tell us about human health

A University of Washington-led study found that social status in rhesus macaques affected how the animals responded to stress. Photo of monkey looking at camera.

A new University of Washington-led study examines one key stress-inducing circumstance — the effects of social hierarchy — and how cells respond to the hormones that are released in response to that stress.


November 29, 2018

Why culture is key to improving the ‘interpretive power’ of psychology

University of Washington

Three researchers from the University of Washington Department of Psychology say existing practices overlook the importance of culture, and suggest how individuals and institutions can be more inclusive.


November 26, 2018

Parents learn, babies talk: How coaching moms and dads leads to better language skills among infants

Talking to a baby in "parentese," with its elongated vowels and exaggerated tones of voice, can improve the infant's language skills over time, according to a new University of Washington study. Photo of mother looking and talking to her baby.

A new study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) shows that parents who learn how and why to speak “parentese” can have a direct impact on their children’s vocabulary.


November 19, 2018

The ‘Swiss Army knife of prehistoric tools’ found in Asia, independent of ancient African or European influence

These artifacts found in China are among the nearly four dozen that reflect the Levallois technique of toolmaking. In a paper published Nov. 19 in Nature, researchers date these artifacts to between 80,000 and 170,000 years ago. Photo of various stones, shaped by knapping.

A study by an international team of researchers, including from the University of Washington, determines that carved stone tools, also known as Levallois cores, were used in Asia 80,000 to 170,000 years ago. With the find — and absent human fossils linking the tools to migrating populations — researchers believe people in Asia developed the technology independently, evidence of similar sets of skills evolving throughout different parts of the ancient world.


November 5, 2018

Violence in childhood leads to accelerated aging, study finds

A study led by the University of Washington finds that children who are exposed to violence tend to age faster. Photo of teenager's feet.

A new study of nearly 250 children and teens led by the University of Washington found that participants who had suffered abuse were developing faster than those who had not.


October 30, 2018

Study reconstructs Neandertal ribcage, offers new clues to ancient human anatomy

Neandertal skull

An international team of researchers, including from the University of Washington, has completed a 3D virtual reconstruction of a Neandertal thorax a model that indicates an upright individual with greater lung capacity and a straighter spine than today’s modern human.


October 24, 2018

New center to recognize American Indian and Indigenous Studies

Bronze W autumn

As the discipline of American Indian Studies approaches its 50th year at the University of Washington, a new research center is in the works: the Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies, which is supported by multiple colleges and schools.


October 19, 2018

PTSD symptoms improve when patient chooses form of treatment, study shows

A study of PTSD patients led by the University of Washington finds that people who chose their form of treatment were more apt to stick to their program and eventually become diagnosis-free. Photo of woman looking out a window.

A study led by the University of Washington is the first large-scale trial of hundreds of PTSD patients, including veterans and survivors of sexual assault, to measure whether patient preference in the course of treatment impacts the effectiveness of both cognitive behavioral therapy and use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a type of antidepressant often prescribed for PTSD.


October 10, 2018

How a community reclaimed its Southeast Seattle high school

Rainier Beach High School in Southeast Seattle was proposed for closure in 2008, but community members rallied around a new vision for the school. Photo of front of school building.

When Rainier Beach High School was proposed to close in 2008, community members rallied around a new vision for the school, which has since nearly doubled its enrollment and introduced a more rigorous curriculum.


October 4, 2018

UW’s Kristina Olson wins MacArthur Foundation ‘genius grant’

Kristina Olson, University of Washington associate professor of psychology, on Oct. 4 was named one of the MacArthur Foundation's Fellows. She receives a $625,000, no-strings-attached stipend. Photo of Kristina in her lab.

Kristina Olson, University of Washington associate professor of psychology, has been named one of the 2018 MacArthur Fellows. The Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation comes with a $625,000 stipend, commonly known as the “genius grant,” for recipients to use as they see fit.


September 28, 2018

Researchers release endangered crows into the forests of Pacific island

Aga nestlings are reared in captivity by San Diego Zoo Global. Photo of young bird with its mouth open, facing camera.

  For more than 2 million years, the native forests on the Pacific islands of Guam and Rota were home to several thousand crows, members of a species found nowhere else on Earth. But over the last 60 years, the Mariana crow — called the Aga in the Chamorro language — has completely disappeared from…


September 25, 2018

Practicing mindfulness benefits parents and children, UW study says

A University of Washington study finds that parents who took mindfulness lessons were better able to manage their emotions, and their children's behavior improved, as well. Photo of a father walking with his young son.

A UW study found that mindfulness lessons, offered to parents at two early childhood centers, helped adults learn how to manage their emotions and behaviors while supporting their child’s development.


September 20, 2018

Even toddlers weigh risks, rewards when making choices

A University of Washington study finds that young toddlers conduct a form of cost-benefit analysis in deciding whether to help someone. Photo of blocks at an infant's feet.

A University of Washington study finds that 18-month-old toddlers conduct a form of cost-benefit analysis, making choices based on how much effort they want to expend, or on whether they like the people involved.


September 13, 2018

Poverty rates hold steady, average incomes continue to increase in Seattle area and Washington state

image of piggy bank

The share of Washingtonians living below the federal poverty threshold declined slightly from 11.3 percent to 11 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to new Census data released Thursday. While this change was not statistically significant, the 2017 poverty rate remains below the post-recession high of 14.1 percent in 2013. Washington was one of 28…


UW psychology professor honored for founding research on implicit bias

Tony Greenwald

When Tony Greenwald and his colleagues developed the online Implicit Association Test two decades ago, it enjoyed quick success in the pre-laptop, pre-smartphone, nascent Internet world, with some 45,000 participants in the first month. The test, which requires classifying words and images rapidly according to their meanings, captures unconscious biases toward — depending on the…


August 28, 2018

New study finds police-related fatalities may occur twice as often as reported

A study led by the University of Washington and Cornell University uses new data sources to determine the likelihood of dying at the hands of police. Photo of police sirens

A study by the University of Washington and Cornell University shows that the risk of being killed by police, relative to white men, is 3.2 to 3.5 times higher for black men, and between 1.4 and 1.7 times higher for Latino men.


August 21, 2018

Do persistent babies make for successful adults?

University of Washington researchers argue that greater study of infant persistence can shed light on the factors that instill this trait, and the outcomes that may emerge from it later in life. Photo of baby playing in sandbox.

University of Washington researchers argue that further study of why infants persist, and to what end, may shed new light on how they learn and what the future yields.


August 20, 2018

Student volunteers help expand UW’s outreach to homeless youth

The University of Washington's Doorway Project has been offering pop-up cafes for homeless youth in the U District since last December. The event is a partnership with YouthCare to coordinate services in the neighborhood, which has one of the largest concentrations of homeless youth in King County.

The University of Washington’s Doorway Project has offered a cafe for homeless young adults each quarter, while students have helped add services, from preventive health care, to establishing a fundraising organization to designing a permanent café home. Its summer pop-up cafe event is Aug. 24.


August 16, 2018

Men and women show surprising differences in seeing motion

A University of Washington-led study finds differences in the ways men and women see motion.

A new UW-led study shows that males and female process visual motion differently, a variation that may be attributable to a neural regulatory process that is different in the male brain.


August 6, 2018

Alexa, be my friend: Children talk to technology, but how does it respond?

voice interface duck

When young children talk to voice-activated technologies, the devices don’t always respond in a helpful way. A new University of Washington study suggests that these interfaces could be designed to be more responsive – repeating or prompting the user, for example – and be more useful to more people.


July 13, 2018

Battling STEM stereotypes, UW’s Sapna Cheryan helps Barbie evolve

Sapna Barbie RESIZE

Sapna Cheryan, a University of Washington associate professor of psychology, has spent her career researching the stereotypes surrounding STEM. Now she’s serving on Mattel’s Barbie Global Advisory Council, lending her expertise as the company looks ahead to the toy’s future.


July 9, 2018

Pucker up, baby! Lips take center stage in infants’ brains, study says

A new University of Washington study shows how the hands, feet and, in particular, the lips are represented in the brains of 2-month-old infants. Researchers believe that at that age, the lips are a focus for survival.

  A typically developing 2-month-old baby can make cooing sounds, suck on her hand to calm down and smile at people. At that age, the mouth is the primary focus: Such young infants aren’t yet reaching for objects with their hands or using their feet to get around, so the lips – for eating, pacifying…


June 20, 2018

Why 9 to 5 isn’t the only shift that can work for busy families

A University of Washington study finds that consistency in parents' work schedules, even "nonstandard" shifts such as nights, can positively impact children. Such alternative shifts are common in health care, law enforcement and the service sector.

    For the millions of Americans who work “nonstandard” shifts – evenings, nights or with rotating days off – the schedule can be especially challenging with children at home. But a new study from the University of Washington finds that consistent hours, at whatever time of day, can give families flexibility and in some…


June 14, 2018

‘Teachers are brain engineers’: UW study shows how intensive instruction changes brain circuitry in struggling readers

This illustration of the brain shows the arcuate fasciculus (green); inferior longitudinal fasciculus (blue) and posterior callosal connections (pink).

    The early years are when the brain develops the most, forming neural connections that pave the way for how a child — and the eventual adult — will express feelings, embark on a task, and learn new skills and concepts. Scientists have even theorized that the anatomical structure of neural connections forms the…


June 12, 2018

Anthropology professor focuses book on the bonds between humans, animals

Animal Intimacies cover

Radhika Govindrajan’s book “Animal Intimacies” started attracting attention before it was even available to readers. A University of Washington assistant professor of anthropology since 2015, Govindrajan specializes in animal studies, and in the politics and culture of the Central Himalayas, where much of the research for this book was conducted. “Animal Intimacies,” published in May…


June 6, 2018

Washington state Supreme Court takes up court-fee reform, considers UW data at sold-out Wednesday symposium

Monetary sanctions disproportionately affect the poor and people of color. A Washington State Supreme Court symposium will discuss the issue of legal financial obligations, with new data from the University of Washington.

  African-Americans in Washington state are 2.3 times more likely than whites to be sentenced to fines and fees, and carry about three times the debt in unpaid monetary sanctions. In all, said University of Washington sociology professor Alexes Harris, legal financial obligations represented nearly $2.5 billion in debt in Washington in 2014, the most…


May 25, 2018

Anthropologist explores China’s changing art scene in ‘Experimental Beijing’

Sasha Welland's book, "Experimental Beijing," was published by Duke University Press.

On a two-year stint teaching English in Beijing, Sasha Welland got her first glimpse of contemporary Chinese art. Not the antiquities so common in Western museums of Asian art, or the scroll paintings or ceramics or Buddhist sculptures, explains Welland, an associate professor in the University of Washington departments of anthropology and gender, women and…


May 18, 2018

Memorial Day events focus on veteran mental health, suicide

American flag photo

    For the past three years, a striking visual statement has marked Memorial Day on the University of Washington campus: thousands of miniature flags dotting the HUB lawn. The first year, student veterans placed hundreds of flags as a solemn gesture to underscore the significance of the holiday. The next year, the office of…


May 17, 2018

Want to help your child succeed in school? Add language to the math, reading mix

A University of Washington-led study finds that a child's language skills in kindergarten predict his or her performance in other areas, including math and reading, throughout school.

    Research shows that the more skills children bring with them to kindergarten – in basic math, reading, even friendship and cooperation – the more likely they will succeed in those same areas in school. Hence, “kindergarten readiness” is the goal of many preschool programs, and a motivator for many parents. Now it’s time…


May 15, 2018

STEM for All Video Showcase features six UW projects

stem for all logo

  Family-focused science lessons, robotics for young children and touch-based programming for the visually impaired are among the University of Washington research videos featured in the STEM for All Video Showcase, funded by the National Science Foundation. The weeklong online event, in its fourth year, highlights more than 200 projects from universities around the country…


April 26, 2018

Community efforts to prevent teen problems have lasting benefits

A University of Washington study finds that a community-based approach to substance-abuse prevention, which can include after-school activities, can affect young people into adulthood.

  Want to prevent kids from using drugs and make it stick into young adulthood? Get the community involved and intervene before they’re teens, say researchers from the University of Washington. A new, longitudinal study from the UW Social Development Research Group shows that young adults who grew up in communities that used a coordinated,…


April 16, 2018

UW Jackson School researcher: Alternative energy is key to long-term health

Access to reliable electricity is critical to public health, argues UW geoscientist Scott Montgomery. And the best way to assure both is to pursue renewable energy.

  Halting the spread of disease involves a combination of health care and societal practices — from access to doctors and vaccines to clean water and adequate resources. Many of those solutions rely on electricity and transport fuels, whether for refrigeration, diagnosis and treatment, or distribution. But with two of the major energy sources the…


April 12, 2018

UW’s Kristina Olson wins NSF Waterman Award for studies of ‘how children see themselves and the world’

Kristina Olson, University of Washington associate professor of psychology, on Oct. 4 was named one of the MacArthur Foundation's Fellows. She receives a $625,000, no-strings-attached stipend.

  The National Science Foundation today named Kristina Olson, University of Washington associate professor of psychology, winner of this year’s Alan T. Waterman Award. The Waterman Award is the U.S. government’s highest honor for an early career scientist or engineer, recognizing an outstanding scientist under the age of 40 or within 10 years of receiving…


April 4, 2018

‘Differences can be a part of their skills’: Pilot program at UW offers on-the-job training for young adults with autism

20180307_Alan Chen UWNews Denny_0186

A national program to boost the employment prospects of young adults with autism is piloting its approach at the UW this year. At 10 locations on campus over the course of the year, interns with the program have built databases, organized libraries and maintained facilities.


March 15, 2018

New minor recognizes, celebrates Pacific Islander community

Oceania and Pacific Islander Studies photo 3

The University of Washington’s new minor in Oceania and Pacific Islander Studies debuts spring quarter. The 25-credit, interdisciplinary program is the result of a longtime effort to elevate the history and culture of an underrepresented, and often misrepresented, community.


March 12, 2018

UW study offers help to soldiers with signs of PTSD

PTSD survey photo 2

The University of Washington is launching a study to identify soldiers experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms and to determine whether free, confidential, over-the-phone counseling can help them navigate resources and spur them to seek further support.


March 9, 2018

How social networks help perpetuate the ‘Cycle of Segregation’

Kyle Crowder is co-author of "Cycle of Segregation."

  Think about the last time you looked for a new apartment or house. Maybe you asked your friends or colleagues about where they lived. You thought about your route to work, or that neighborhood you always drive through on your way to your kid’s soccer practice. Many of these places were familiar to you,…


March 7, 2018

Is there a glass ceiling in academic publishing?

Student researchers at the Molecular and Cellular Biology Lab

A University of Washington study finds that women authors are significantly under-represented in high-profile academic journals.


March 1, 2018

Tri-campus survey aims to identify student struggles with housing, food costs

The housing and food survey is open to any UW student age 18 or older.

    In a region as expensive as the Puget Sound, making ends meet affects college students, too. Rent, utilities and food can run into the hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a month – and for students without the means, it’s a daunting and sometimes compromising challenge. Urban@UW is trying to learn more about…



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