UW News

Social science


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 T. 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

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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

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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

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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…


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 18, 2018

Evans School faculty to study Fauntleroy ferry concerns for Washington State Ferries

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The Washington State Legislature has commissioned faculty members with the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy & Governance to study ticketing and loading procedures at the West Seattle ferry dock and suggest ways to improve terminal operations. Evans School professor Alison Cullen and associate professor Stephen Page will lead the study, which begins…


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…


June 4, 2018

Polar scientist Kristin Laidre documents perspectives of polar bear hunters in East Greenland

photograph of subsistence hunter

Twenty-five polar bear hunters in East Greenland were interviewed before the first formal assessment of this subpopulation, one of 19 subpopulations of polar bears in a changing Arctic.


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 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…


May 2, 2018

Center for Communication, Difference and Equity to explore issues of race and media in conference May 10-12

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Issues of race and racism permeate American culture and media more than ever. The UW’s Center for Communication, Difference and Equity will hold a three-day conference May 10-12 to explore these issues and foster engagement and support among academics.


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,…


March 28, 2018

UW historian Michael Honey recalls Martin Luther King’s message of economic justice in new book, ‘To the Promised Land’

Michael Honey, author of "To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice."

As the 50th anniversary approaches of the murder of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, UW historian Michael Honey reminds us in a new book that economic justice and labor rights were always part of King’s progressive message.


March 21, 2018

Partnering with indigenous communities to anticipate and adapt to ocean change

fishing boats

With a new $700,000 grant awarded from the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program, scientists from the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory, Washington Sea Grant and the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean have teamed with federal and tribal partners to study the social and ecological vulnerabilities of Olympic Coast ocean acidification.


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 14, 2018

Could anti-Trump sentiment mobilize African-American voters in 2018?

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African-American voters who dislike and feel threatened by Donald Trump and his presidency are more likely to vote and to engage with politics, according to new research from the UW and California State University, Sacramento.



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