UW News

Social science


April 22, 2019

Brains of blind people adapt to sharpen sense of hearing, study shows

People who are visually impaired rely on other senses to interpret their surroundings. A pair of studies from the University of Washington shows how the brains of blind people adapt to process information. Photo of blind person walking with cane.

Research from the University of Washington uses functional MRI to identify two differences in the brains of blind individuals — differences that might be responsible for their abilities to make better use of auditory information.


April 8, 2019

How societal attitudes, political rhetoric affect immigrants’ health

This 2007 photo shows the border between California, left, and Tijuana, Mexico, right.

For immigrants to the United States, the current political climate, and debates over issues such as a border wall, become part of the environment that influences their health, according to a new University of Washington study.


March 21, 2019

How discrimination, PTSD may lead to high rates of preterm birth among African-American women

African-American women give birth prematurely at a higher rate than white women, a trend a University of Washington study suggests is attributable to racial discrimination and PTSD. Photo of woman and her baby.

African-American women are nearly twice as likely to give birth prematurely as white women. Amelia Gavin, an associate professor in the University of Washington School of Social Work, connects preterm birth to racial discrimination via PTSD.


March 18, 2019

Information School to welcome high school students March 19 for ‘MisInfo Day’ – from ‘Calling BS’ faculty duo

RainbowW

The UW Information School is taking a leading role in helping people better navigate this era of increasing online fakery and falsehood. On March 19, the school will welcome 200-some Seattle-area high school students for “MisInfo Day,” a daylong workshop on how to navigate the misinformation landscape, from Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom, the faculty duo behind “Calling BS in the Age of Big Data.”


March 14, 2019

Jackson School’s Devin Naar featured in documentary premiering March 24 at Seattle’s Jewish Film Festival

Professor Devin Naar of the UW Jackson School and Stroum Center for Jewish Studies, right, talks with Joseph F. Lovett, director of the documentary "Children of the Inquisition." The film, which Naar consulted on and appears in, will premiere at the 2019 Seattle Jewish Film Festival.

Devin Naar, UW professor of international studies and history, is featured in “Children of the Inquisition,” a new documentary film about descendants of the Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions discovering their Sephardic Jewish heritage. The film will premiere March 24 as part of the Seattle Jewish Film Festival.


March 12, 2019

A school that values diversity could have health benefits for students of color

Photo of empty classroom

Students of color who attend schools with a culture and mission statements that emphasize the value of diversity show better cardiovascular health than peers whose schools do not express such values, according to a new study.


March 7, 2019

UW anthropologist connects communities to archive of Khmer Rouge-era Cambodia

This is one of dozens of photographs of Cambodian citizens, taken by journalist and UW alum Elizabeth Becker on her tour of the country in 1978. Photo of young girl in a factory

A new project by Jenna Grant, UW assistant professor of anthropology, uses an archive of photos and documents from the Khmer Rouge era — the donation of a journalist and UW alum — to help facilitate storytelling among Cambodians and Cambodian-Americans.


March 5, 2019

Reading summer camp? Study to examine how soon-to-be kindergartners are wired for literacy

A study this summer will examine how the word-recognition portion of the brain develops in preschoolers. Photo of young child sorting cards with simple words on them.

The University of Washington is launching a reading instruction study this summer, a two-week “camp” targeting children entering kindergarten in the fall that aims to teach early literacy skills and measure brain activity before and after instruction.


March 4, 2019

Fake faces: UWs ‘Calling BS’ duo opens new website asking ‘Which face is real?’

Which of these two very realistic renderings of faces is real, and which is a computer-generated fake? Biology professor Carl Bergstrom and Information School professor Jevin West -- creators of the "Calling BS" class and site -- now have a website to help you better discern between fake and real images online. Here, the image on the right is real. Check your own skills at their site, WhichFaceisReal.com

A new website from the UW’s Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom, the duo behind the popular “Calling BS” class, asks viewers to choose which of two realistic face photos is real and which is a complete fake.


February 20, 2019

Playground study shows how recess can include all children

autism playground photo 1

Recess, for most children, is synonymous with freedom. A break from class that has nothing to do with learning and everything to do with play. For children with autism, the playground can be an isolating experience. The spontaneous soccer games, roving packs of friends and virtual buffet of activities can be chaotic, frustrating and confusing….


February 6, 2019

Parenting in the age of legal pot: Household rules, conversations help guide teen use

marijuana photo

The legalization of marijuana in Washington state in 2012 gave parents the opportunity for a new teachable moment. Many say that as society has become more permissive, they want information and advice.


January 30, 2019

Building equity: A talk with Renée Cheng, new dean of the UW College of Built Environments

Renée Cheng, new dean of the UW College of Built Environments, joined the UW on Jan. 1. This is a QA story with the new dean.

UW News talks with Renée Cheng, new dean of the UW College of Built Environments, about her background and plans for the college. Cheng joined the UW on Jan. 1.


January 28, 2019

Even a one-hour ‘planting party’ can lift spirits, build skills among women in prison, study shows

Prison gardening photo 2

Exposure to nature, even through a brief gardening activity, can improve well-being among women in prison, a UW Tacoma-led study finds.


January 15, 2019

Researchers can predict childhood social transitions

A University of Washington-led study finds that children who socially transition to the gender "opposite" their sex at birth also demonstrate strong "cross-gender" identities before the transition. Photo of two children in silhouette.

A new University of Washington study suggests that the children most apt to socially transition to the gender “opposite” their sex at birth are those who already demonstrate the strongest “cross-gender” identities, and that the transitions don’t appear to alter a child’s gender identity or preferences.


December 24, 2018

New global migration estimates show rates proportionally steady since 1990, high rate of return migration

People waiting at an airport

Two University of Washington scientists have unveiled a new statistical method for estimating migration flows between countries. They show that rates of migration are higher than previously thought, but also relatively stable, fluctuating between 1.1 and 1.3 percent of global population from 1990 to 2015. In addition, since 1990 approximately 45 percent of migrants have returned to their home countries, a much higher estimate than other methods.


December 17, 2018

How a workshop about getting along became a story stoking division

A University of Washington class meets outside of Mary Gates Hall on a sunny day. Photo of students in a circle under a tree.

A small study about a workshop to bring together students of different political persuasions found that workshop participants were able to better understand their fellow students as individuals, but their attitudes about opposing beliefs, in general, did not change.


December 13, 2018

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

collage of books and CD covers

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’

2017-06-14_history_department_09

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

mug shot

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.



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