UW News

Social science


February 22, 2018

New curriculum prioritizes tribal sovereignty, cultural respect in scientific research of American Indian, Alaska Native communities

Off center W

    When scientists have conducted research in Native American communities, the process and the results have sometimes been controversial. There have been a few well-known cases, such as the 1979 Barrow Alcohol Study, in which researchers examined substance use in the tiny Arctic Circle town and issued findings to the press, before briefing the…


February 21, 2018

A talk with UW historian Quintard Taylor: Taking ‘the long view’ in troubled times

Quintard Taylor giving the 2016 Denny Lecture at the Museum of History and Industry, Seattle, Washington on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Quintard Taylor, UW professor emeritus of history and recipient of a lifetime achievement honor from Washington State Historical Society, discusses his work and this unusual moment in American history.


January 31, 2018

Reconstructing an ancient lethal weapon

wound ballistics 2

    Archaeologists are a little like forensic investigators: They scour the remains of past societies, looking for clues in pottery, tools and bones about how people lived, and how they died. And just as detectives might re-create the scene of a crime, University of Washington archaeologists have re-created the weapons used by hunter-gatherers in…


January 30, 2018

Depression, anxiety affect more than one-fourth of state’s college students

A study of college students from around the state shows the prevalence of depression and anxiety. Suicide prevention advocates say this illustrates the need for more mental health resources on campuses.

  Nearly one-third of Washington college students have experienced depression in the last year, and more than 10 percent have had thoughts of suicide, according to a new survey of young adults attending schools around the state. The survey of more than 10,000 students at 13 of Washington’s two- and four-year institutions shows the need…


January 25, 2018

Dan Berger discusses excesses of incarceration in new book ‘Rethinking the American Prison Movement’

featured_image_cropfrom_cover

Dan Berger, associate professor in the UW Bothell School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, discusses his new book, “Rethinking the American Prison Movement.”


January 18, 2018

Civil War-era U.S. Navy ships’ logs to be explored for climate data, maritime history

soldiers on shore

A new grant will let a University of Washington-based project add a new fleet to its quest to learn more about past climate from the records of long-gone mariners. The UW is among the winners of the 2017 “Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives” awards, announced Jan. 4 by the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Library…


January 16, 2018

Task interrupted: A plan for returning helps you move on

Bronze W fall

Get interrupted at work much? Making a quick plan for returning to and completing the task you’re leaving will help you focus better on the interrupting work, according to new research from the University of Washington.


A ‘touching sight’: How babies’ brains process touch builds foundations for learning

A 7-month-old baby sits in the Magnetoencephalography machine at the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. An I-LABS study shows how babies' brains register "felt touch" and "observed touch."

  Touch is the first of the five senses to develop, yet scientists know far less about the baby’s brain response to touch than to, say, the sight of mom’s face, or the sound of her voice. Now, through the use of safe, new brain imaging techniques, University of Washington researchers provide one of the…


January 11, 2018

Can the president really do that? Two UW law professors give answers in new book

University of Washington law professors Lisa Manheim and Kathryn Watts have published a new book as the anniversary of President Trump's inauguration approaches. "The Limits of Presidential Power: A Citizen's Guide to the Law" is available on Amazon.

Can the president single-handedly toss out environmental rules designed to combat global warming? Force states like Washington to help enforce federal immigration laws? Fire Robert Mueller? No, no, and not directly, say Lisa Manheim and Kathryn Watts, professors of law at the University of Washington, in a new book. The answers, of course, are more complicated…


January 5, 2018

UW ranks No. 5 nationally for social science research funding

Snowy W

    The University of Washington is ranked fifth among more than 400 U.S. colleges and universities for social science research funding, according to a new report. The Consortium of Social Science Association’s 2018 College and University Rankings for Federal Social and Behavioral Science R&D was released this week. The UW, with $38.6 million in…


January 4, 2018

New book ‘City Unsilenced’ explores protest and public space

"City Unsilenced: Urban Resistance and Public Space in the Age of Shrinking Democracy," edited by the UW's Jeff Hou, with Sabine Knierbein, was published by Routledge

Jeff Hou, UW professor of landscape architecture, discusses the new book he co-edited with Sabine Knierbein, “City Unsilenced: Urban Resistance and Public Space in the Age of Shrinking Democracy.”


December 21, 2017

Promoting self-esteem among African-American girls through racial, cultural connections

Ethnic identity photo 2

    For African-American students, data, alongside societal attitudes and stereotypes, often present a negative picture: a wide academic achievement gap separating them from their white peers. Higher rates of discipline and absenteeism. Discrimination by other students, teachers and the larger community. And just last summer, a study indicated that black girls, from an early…


December 6, 2017

Martin Luther, Steve Jobs and aspirational faith: Q & A with UW sociologist Steve Pfaff on ‘The Spiritual Virtuoso’

candle photo

Alongside the political polarization that has permeated seemingly every issue in American life, there is a similar dichotomy in religion.On one side are those who suggest religion is dying, that’s it’s irrelevant, a force for ill and oppression, explains University of Washington sociology professor Steve Pfaff. On the other are those who say religion is…


November 30, 2017

Explore India’s ‘informal economies’ at symposium Dec. 1-2

A symposium will examine the lives of workers in India's "informal economies." Here, a woman known as Aunty Mummy is considered a go-to person in her village.

The labor of India’s lower castes — in areas such as agriculture, transportation, construction and the sex trade — occupies about 90 percent of the country’s workforce. Many of these urban jobs draw workers from rural villages, people who struggle to make a living not only for themselves, but also for the relatives they’ve left…


November 28, 2017

UW students win Amazon’s inaugural Alexa Prize for most engaging socialbot

The UW Sounding Board team (left to right: Hao Fang, Hao Cheng, Ari Holtzman, Mari Ostendorf, Maarten Sap, Elizabeth Clark, Yejin Choi) wins Amazon's first Alexa Prize.

A team of University of Washington students and faculty has won Amazon’s inaugural Alexa Prize, a university competition designed to produce an artificial intelligence agent capable of coherent and sustained conversation with humans.


November 27, 2017

UW’s Doorway Project kicks off services for homeless youth

The University District includes a significant portion of King County's homeless youth population. A new effort by the University of Washington aims to help homeless young people become more self-sufficient.

  Seattle’s homeless crisis isn’t confined to one part of town – nor does it hinge on one solution. The University District community includes as much as one-third of King County’s homeless youth over any given year. It’s a neighborhood where a food bank and youth shelter are available, and where young people on the…


November 22, 2017

Two UW professors named to the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare

2016 SPEP Thank You Photos

Edwina Uehara, dean of the University of Washington School of Social Work, and social work professor Karen Fredriksen Goldsen have been named fellows of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. The two are among 14 new fellows to be inducted by the organization, which honors scholarship, leadership and high-impact work in the…


November 21, 2017

Pitch imperfect? How the brain decodes pitch may improve cochlear implants

ear icon

    Picture yourself with a friend in a crowded restaurant. The din of other diners, the clattering of dishes, the muffled notes of background music, the voice of your friend, not to mention your own – all compete for your brain’s attention. For many people, the brain can automatically distinguish the noises, identifying the…


November 15, 2017

What counts as nature? It all depends

The environment we grow up with informs how we define "nature," UW psychology professor Peter Kahn says. Encounters with truly wild places inspire people to preserve them.

    Think, for a moment, about the last time you were out in nature. Were you in a city park? At a campground? On the beach? In the mountains? Now consider: What was this place like in your parents’ time? Your grandparents’? In many cases, the parks, beaches and campgrounds of today are surrounded…


November 13, 2017

New tool quantifies power imbalance between female and male characters in Hollywood movie scripts

graphic showing power comparisons between Anna and Elsa from the movie Frozen with Cinderella

UW researchers who used machine learning tools to analyze language in 800 Hollywood movie scripts found subtle but widespread gender bias in the way male and female characters are portrayed.


November 2, 2017

How air pollution clouds mental health

A University of Washington study finds that people who live in areas with high levels of air pollution also report higher levels of psychological distress.

  There is little debate over the link between air pollution and the human respiratory system: Research shows that dirty air can impair breathing and aggravate various lung diseases. Other potential effects are being investigated, too, as scientists examine connections between toxic air and obesity, diabetes and dementia. Now add to that list psychological distress,…


October 26, 2017

Serious study of comic art: International conference comes to UW Nov. 2-4

"My Favorite Thing is Monsters," by conference participant Emil Ferris, published by Seattle's Fantagraphics Books.

Comics and graphic can be serious business. Scholars, critics, historians, teachers, curators of comic art and graphic publications will gather at the UW and locations in Seattle Nov. 2-4 for the 2017 International Comic Arts Forum.


October 25, 2017

UW among top 10 in US News Best Global Universities ranking; No. 2 among US public institutions

Globe in Suzzallo Library

The University of Washington climbed to the No. 10 spot on the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Global Universities rankings, tied with Johns Hopkins University and Yale University. The UW is now second among American public institutions — an improvement from last year’s No. 3 slot. “I am proud to see the University of…


October 16, 2017

Tweeting rage: How immigration policies can polarize public discourse

hashtag photo

  Before a border wall became a budget bargaining chip, before the presidential pardon of a controversial sheriff and before federal policies were announced on social media, there was Arizona Senate Bill 1070, the “show me your papers” law. And of course, there was Twitter. To René D. Flores, an assistant professor of sociology at…


October 12, 2017

Using Facebook data as a real-time census

social media screen

    Determining how many people live in Seattle, perhaps of a certain age, perhaps from a specific country, is the sort of question that finds its answer in the census, a massive data dump for places across the country. But just how fresh is that data? After all, the census is updated once a…


October 11, 2017

In Seattle, cost of meeting basic needs up $30,000 in a decade

map of washington state with county boundaires

A Seattle family of four must bring in $75,000 annually to pay for basic housing, food, transportation and health and child care – an increase of 62 percent since 2006, based on a new report from the University of Washington. The city’s escalating cost of living may not be a surprise. But across the state,…


October 4, 2017

Asking kids about drugs doesn’t prompt drug use, study finds

A University of Washington study has found that asking preteens about substance use doesn't prompt them to try alcohol, tobacco or drugs.

    It is an oft-repeated fear, particularly among parents: that discussing an undesirable behavior, or even an illegal or dangerous one, may encourage kids to try it. But when it comes to asking pre-teens about alcohol, drug and tobacco use, a University of Washington-led study finds no evidence that children will, as a consequence…


September 26, 2017

Scientists come to the aid of Puerto Rican community, research station

The Cayo Santiago Research Station in Puerto Rico was heavily damaged by Hurricane Maria, which destroyed the buildings, feeding corrals, and all but one of the water cisterns necessary to support a free-ranging population of monkeys. A University of Washington faculty member is among the researchers who study there and are mobilizing a relief effort for the community.

    Researchers from the University of Washington and seven other institutions are working together to restore a Puerto Rican research station and its nearby community following the damage wrought last week by Hurricane Maria. The research station known as Monkey Island is located on Cayo Santiago, off the southeast coast of mainland Puerto Rico,…


September 14, 2017

Poverty decreases, income increases in Seattle area and Washington state

Census data released Sept. 14 show that poverty declined between 2015 and 2016 in Washington state and in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area, specifically.

The share of Washingtonians living in poverty dropped from 12.2 percent to 11.3 percent between 2015 and 2016, according to new Census data released Thursday. This is the third straight year that poverty has decreased since the post-recession high of 14.1 percent in 2013.


September 13, 2017

Offhand comments can expose underlying racism, UW study finds

microaggressions photo 2

        Blatant racism is easy to identify — a shouted racial slur, a white supremacist rally, or the open discrimination, segregation and violence of the pre-civil rights era. But more subtle forms of bias, called microaggressions, emerge in the everyday exchanges among friends and strangers alike and can offend racial and ethnic…


September 7, 2017

Q&A | Sanne Knudsen: Consumers need more protection from chemicals and pesticides

Regulation of chemicals and pesticides effectively leave it to consumers to manage their own risk of exposure, writes Sanne Knudsen, a University of Washington associate professor of law.

  Sanne Knudsen was an undergraduate in Chicago when she got her first close-up look at environmental justice. As an environmental engineering student at Northwestern University, Knudsen answered an attorney’s call for volunteers to study several neighborhoods on Chicago’s South Side, communities that had endured more than their share of pollution and exposure to chemicals….


September 5, 2017

Gun dealers, suicide-prevention advocates partner to save lives

Forefront logo

  With 80 percent of firearms deaths in Washington related to suicide, the scenario isn’t hard to imagine: A person thinking of ending their life enters a gun store to buy the means to do it. Unfortunately, other scenarios play out, as well: A person filling a lethal dose of a prescription medication at a…


How governments can maintain strong public-private partnerships: Guide from Evans School’s Justin Marlowe

Justin Marlowe's fourth -- and likely final -- guide to financial literacy was published in August by Governing magazine.

The biggest risk to public-private partnerships in governing is not financial or technical, but political, says UW Evans School professor Justin Marlowe in his fourth guide to financial literacy, published by Governing magazine.


August 28, 2017

Home prices up, supply down in second quarter of 2017

Crellin_houseforsale2_1000-300x225-300x225

Washington state’s housing market showed the continuing effects of high demand in the second quarter of 2017, according to the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington The statewide median sales price rose to $337,700 in the second quarter, 6.6 percent higher than the same time period last year. This represents…


August 24, 2017

Lesbian, gay and bisexual older adults suffer more chronic health conditions than heterosexuals, study finds

A new University of Washington study funds that lesbian, gay and bisexual older adults are more likely than heterosexuals to suffer chronic health conditions.

  Lesbian and bisexual older women are more likely than heterosexual older women to suffer chronic health conditions, experience sleep problems and drink excessively, a new University of Washington study finds. In general, lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) older adults were found to be in poorer health than heterosexuals, specifically in terms of higher rates…


August 17, 2017

Q & A: Sarah Quinn lifts the curtain on the ‘hidden state’

The general public is often confused about what the government is and does, University of Washington Sarah Quinn writes in a new anthology published by Cambridge University Press.

  Given today’s political climate, one might assume that terms like “administrative state” and “deep state” are merely examples of polarized rhetoric. But the wariness underlying those terms goes back much further, said Sarah Quinn, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Washington. Try colonial America. “Some historians will say this is something…


August 15, 2017

Evans School’s Scott Allard notes poverty’s changing landscape in ‘Places in Need’

"Places in Need: The Changing Geography of Poverty" by Scott Allard was published by the Russell Sage Foundation.

The number of poor people living in America’s suburbs has more than doubled over the last 25 years, with little attention from academics or policymakers, says Scott W. Allard, a professor in the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, in his new 2017 book “Places in Need: The Changing Geography of Poverty,”


August 3, 2017

Evans School researchers analyze Seattle’s competing arena proposals

Photo by Katherine Turner.

Researchers at the UW’s Evans School of Public Policy & Governance have released a public finance analysis of two competing proposals to develop an NBA/NHL arena in Seattle.


July 31, 2017

University of Washington’s Livable City Year program completes inaugural partnership with Auburn

photo of downtown auburn

University of Washington students have been working with city of Auburn staff and community members throughout the past year on a wide range of projects tackling challenges around livability and sustainability in the city. Livable City Year is continuing in the 2017-2018 year in partnership with the city of Tacoma. These projects were part of the UW…


Heavier Asian Americans seen as ‘more American,’ study says

A University of Washington-led study has found that for Asian Americans, those who appear heavier not only are perceived to be more "American," but also may be subject to less prejudice directed at foreigners than Asian Americans who are thin.

  What makes people look “American”? The way they dress? Maybe their hairstyle, or mannerisms? How much they weigh? A University of Washington-led study has found that for Asian Americans, those who appear heavier not only are perceived to be more “American,” but also may be subject to less prejudice directed at foreigners than Asian…



Next page