UW News

Social science


December 13, 2018

Hark! UW talents — on page and disc — for the good Dawgs on your holiday shopping list

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As the year comes to a close and festivities abound, some UW faculty creations can make great gifts for the thinking Dawg on your giving list.


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 28, 2018

UW-led philosophy team receives $1.5M grant to study the ethics of neurotechnology research

A UW postdoc works with Center for Neurotechnology Young Scholars Program participant on a sensory device.

University of Washington researchers in the Center for Neurotechnology are studying how brain-computer interfaces affect whether patients feel they are in charge of their own actions.


November 26, 2018

Papyrus scrolls to Kindle and beyond: UW professor pens meditation on ‘the book’

"The Book," by Amaranth Borsuk, published in 2018 by MIT Press, part of the publisher's Essential Knowledge series.

What is a “book” in the digital age — and what will it become? Amaranth Borsuk, assistant professor in the UW Bothell School of Interdisciplinary Studies, discusses the idea of “the book,” from clay tablets and papyrus scrolls to the hyperlinked, multimedia format of the digital age. She has her own new book out on the topic, titled “The Book.”


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

UW political scientist Mark Smith asks: How do we know what’s true?

People walking in a crowd, looking at their phones.

A timely new University of Washington political science class asks: How do we separate fact from fiction these days? How do we know what is true?


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 13, 2018

UW communication professor Ralina Joseph’s new book navigates minefield of ‘postracial racialism’

"Postracial Resistance: Black Women, Media, and the Uses of Strategic Ambiguity," by UW communication associate professor Ralina Joseph, was published in October by New York University Press.

Ralina Joseph, associate professor of communication, discusses here new book “Postracial Resistance: Black Women, Media, and the Uses of Strategic Ambiguity,” published this October by New York University Press.


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.


November 2, 2018

Racial, ethnic minorities face greater vulnerability to wildfires

firefighting in oregon 2018

Massive wildfires, which may be getting more intense due to climate change and a long history of fire-suppression policies, have strikingly unequal effects on minority communities, a new study shows.


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 29, 2018

UW Books in brief: Postwar Japan, American Indian businesses, dictatorship to democracy — and more

Collage illustration for UW Books in Brief, Oct. 29, 2018

Recent notable books by UW faculty members study politics and culture in post-World War II Japan, explore regime change, nonprofit management, documents from the ancient world and more.


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 16, 2018

Once there were camps: New book by UW historian Jordanna Bailkin remembers Britain’s ‘forgotten’ 20th-century refugee camps

"Unsettled: Refugee Camps and the Making of Multicultural Britain," by UW history professor Jordanna Bailkin. Published by Oxford University Press.

Today, Britain is not known as a land of camps, but through much of the 20th century — from after World War I to the 1980s —  the country was home to dozens of refugee camps housing thousands of Belgians, Jews, Basques, Poles, Hungarians, Anglo-Egyptians, Ugandan Asians and Vietnamese. As University of Washington history professor…


October 8, 2018

Race, empire, agency explored in UW history professor’s book ‘Risky Shores: Savagery and Colonialism in the Western Pacific’

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A new book by University of Washington history professor George Behlmer seeks to improve understanding of the British colonial era by “reconsidering the conduct of islanders and the English-speaking strangers who encountered them.”


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.


October 3, 2018

3,500-year-old pumpkin spice? Archaeologists find earliest use of nutmeg as a food

A potsherd artifact found at the Pulau Ay archaeological site. It was one of several pottery pieces containing traces of foods, including the earliest-known use of nutmeg. Photo of small piece of pottery.

On a small island in Indonesia, University of Washington researchers found evidence of nutmeg as residue on ceramic potsherds and is estimated to be 3,500 years old — about 2,000 years older than the previously known use of the spice.


October 2, 2018

Former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell brings leadership to UW community, new EarthLab initiative

people on the beach

Former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell brings a lifetime of experience in business, nonprofits, government and the outdoors to the University of Washington, where one of her tasks is to help shape the future of EarthLab, a new university-wide institute that seeks to connect scholars with community partners to solve our most difficult environmental problems.


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 26, 2018

Significant gift from Lynn and Howard Behar funds new UW School of Social Work Center for Integrative Oncology and Palliative Care Social Work

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A substantial gift from Lynn and Howard Behar will expand the University of Washington School of Social Work’s support for the next generation of oncology social work scholars by providing funds to launch a new Center for Integrative Oncology and Palliative Care Social Work.

The Center will take a social justice approach to oncology and palliative care services, with a commitment to addressing documented health disparities in cancer and end-of-life care based on race and ethnicity, disability, gender and sexual identity, geographic location, income or education.


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 18, 2018

UW historian Margaret O’Mara discusses famous 1968 computer mouse ‘demo’ — and the start of Silicon Valley — for new podcast by The Conversation

Margaret O'Mara, UW professor of history, is interviewed for a podcast by The Conversation

Margaret O’Mara, UW professor of history, explores the impact of a December 1968 computer presentation that came to be called “the mother of all demos” in an essay and podcast from the news website The Conversation.


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.


Working class heroes: A look inside the Labor Archives of Washington

OneBigUnion

An exploration of UW Libraries’ Labor Archives of Washington with labor archivist Conor Casey.


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.


Policy pivot: A new emphasis on restoration to protect Puget Sound

The Qwuloolt restoration project in 2016.

University of Washington researchers have found policies are shifting toward restoration projects that include input from more groups and offer a range of benefits to Puget Sound, including flood control, salmon recovery, recreation and habitat protection.


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 13, 2018

Information School’s Hans Scholl on promises, cautions of ‘digital government’

Hans Jochen Scholl

Hans Scholl, professor in the UW Information School, discusses the challenges and opportunities of digital government. The website Apolitical has named him among the “Top 100 Most Influential People in digital government.”


August 7, 2018

Evans School to study effects of Seattle’s sick leave ordinance

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Hilary Wething, a doctoral student in the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, has received a grant to study the effects of Seattle’s law requiring paid sick leave.


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.


August 2, 2018

UW books in brief: Urban diaries, battling Jim Crow on campus and more

collage of book covers

Recent notable books by University of Washington authors tell of the struggle to break free of racism in higher education, taking an “urban diary” approach to documenting city life and more.


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…



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