UW Today

Social science


February 26, 2016

Transgender children supported in their identities show positive mental health

Kristina Olson

Studies of mental health among transgender people in the United States have been consistently grim, showing higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide. But almost nothing is known about the mental health of a new and growing generation of transgender Americans — prepubescent children who are living openly as transgender with the support of their…


February 25, 2016

Driverless cars could increase reliance on roads

Photo of driverless car

Driverless vehicles could intensify car use — reducing or even eliminating promised energy savings and environmental benefits, a new study co-authored by a University of Washington researcher finds. If people can work, relax and even hold meetings in their fully automated vehicles, they may drive more.


Herring fishery’s strength is in the sum of its parts, study finds

Pacific herring.

Just like a strong financial portfolio contains shares from different companies, the diverse subpopulations of herring from different bays and beaches around Puget Sound collectively keep the total population more stable, a new study finds.


February 22, 2016

University of Washington named a ‘top producer’ of Fulbright students

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The University of Washington is one of the top producers of Fulbright students for 2015-16, according to lists released Monday in the Chronicle of Higher Education.


February 18, 2016

David Levy addresses digital overload in ‘Mindful Tech’

"Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives" was published by Yale University Press.

David Levy of the UW Information School discusses his new book, “Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to our Digital Lives,” published in January by Yale University Press.


February 11, 2016

Male biology students consistently underestimate female peers, study finds

GirlInLab

Female college students are more likely to abandon studies in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines than their male classmates, and new research from the University of Washington suggests that those male peers may play a key role in undermining their confidence. Published this week in the journal PLOS ONE, the study found that…


February 4, 2016

‘Pushback’ against constant connectivity also reflected in images, study follow-up finds

In a follow-up to a 2014 study, Ricardo Gomez of the University of Washington Information School and co-authors have found that people's desire to retreat from a life of constant connectivity is expressed on the web in images as well and powerfully as in text.

People expressing the wish to resist constant online connectivity — dubbed “pushback” by University of Washington Information School researchers — is manifested as powerfully in images as in text, further study has found.


‘On-ramping’ paves the way for women scientists, engineers to return to academia

Photo of on ramp

Pursuing scientific or engineering careers in industry, government or private research after getting a Ph.D. used to be considered a one-way ticket out of academia. But new UW research finds numerous benefits — to students, researchers and academic institutions looking to diversify their faculty — in making that return trip easier.


February 1, 2016

UW hosts daylong public ‘teach-in’ on mass incarceration

NewJimCrow

The acclaimed 2012 book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” is the foundation for a daylong “teach-in” at the University of Washington Feb. 9. The event is titled “Perpetual Displacement and Bondage: Understanding Historical and Contemporary Intersections of Mass Incarceration, Racism, and Health.” It’s free and open to the public,…


January 28, 2016

Study shows U.S. has greater link between low birth weight and inequality

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Health disparities are common in developed countries, including the U.S., but at what age those inequities take root and how they vary between countries is less clear. New research from the University of Washington compares the link between income, education and low birth weight in the United States with those in three comparable countries: the…


Iowa caucuses: Expectations can trump votes, but will Trump meet expectations?

CNN News announces Mike Huckabee the winner of the 2008 Republican Iowa caucus. But winning Iowa does not always lead to the nomination, which that year went to Sen. John McCain.

In the Iowa caucuses, expectations are nearly as important as votes and front-runners must watch their backs, say University of Washington professors who are closely watching this year’s presidential race. The 2016 Iowa caucuses will be held Monday, Feb. 1, pitting Democratic leader Hillary Clinton against Sen. Bernie Sanders and Gov. Martin O’Malley and Republican…


January 22, 2016

UW’s Forefront backs effort to engage gun dealers and pharmacies on suicide prevention

Forefront co-founder Jennifer Stuber

Patty Yamashita was a vivacious, sweet, high-energy woman who balanced a career as an IT manager with a steadfast dedication to her family. She worked long hours but was always home to put dinner on the table and read a bedtime story for her children. “My mother was my hero,” said her son, David. “Usually…


January 5, 2016

Study: College graduates often challenged with life skills, motivation for ongoing learning

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Today’s college graduates tend to be highly trained and employable but often lack a key skill needed for post-college life: how to identify and ask their own questions, according to a new study.


January 4, 2016

UW class pairs students and inmates for unique learning experience

Inmate Arthur Longworth, left, talks with UW students (from left) Kathryn Joy, Meron Fikru and Emily Krueger.

On a rainy December afternoon, a group of students in the University of Washington’s Law, Societies & Justice program sit in a classroom discussing what elements might be included in a restorative justice program. The conversation is lively, the comments thoughtful. But this isn’t any ordinary classroom, and it isn’t your usual group of university…


December 29, 2015

#BestofUW: Top news stories of 2015

top-stories

From a new president and lasers cooling liquids to spotting rare sea creatures and major collaborations, great things have happened at the University of Washington in 2015. Here’s a look back at the top stories of the year. These stories were chosen based on the total number of views they received on our website and are not in any particular order….


No easy answers in UW study of legal marijuana’s impact on alcohol use

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Does legal marijuana tempt pot users to consume more alcohol — or are they likely to opt for cannabis instead of chardonnay? A University of Washington team of researchers sought to address those questions in the context of evolving marijuana policies in the United States. Their findings, published online Dec. 21 in the journal Alcoholism:…


December 17, 2015

Study: Safety net fails impoverished grandmothers raising children

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Increasing numbers of grandmothers across the United States are raising their grandchildren, many of them living in poverty and grappling with a public assistance system not designed to meet their needs. LaShawnDa Pittman, an assistant professor in the University of Washington’s Department of American Ethnic Studies, interviewed 77 African American grandmothers living in some of…


December 15, 2015

Fuel economy improvements in US climate commitment on par with 1970s gains

Photo of 1970s Datsun ad

A new UW study finds that fuel efficiency improvements needed to meet U.S. climate commitments are on par with what the auto industry delivered in the 1970s and 1980s.


Forefront launches suicide prevention effort in three rural Washington counties

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Suicide is a tough issue to broach. How could an adult know if a child in the community might be suicidal and when to intervene? Is it appropriate to ask a friends or colleagues if they’re considering suicide? If someone is in crisis, what’s the best way to respond? Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention hopes…


December 14, 2015

Seattle’s Ballard is ripe for green-space restoration, new report says

A vacant lot at Northwest 65th Street and 7th Avenue Northwest in the West Woodland section of Ballard.

A University of Washington graduate student saw green-starved Ballard as an opportunity to call attention to areas in the neighborhood that have restoration potential. Her new report, the “Ballard Green Spaces Project,” identifies 55 sites that could be restored as natural areas for people and wildlife, increasing the neighborhood’s total amount of accessible green spaces.


History meets geography: James Gregory’s collaborative digital project tracks key 20th century social movements

James Gregory

UW historian James Gregory’s new collaborative digital project, “Mapping American Social Movements through the 20th Century” uses data visualization and interactive maps to depict the progress of various social movements — with more to come.


December 8, 2015

Culture wars, Christianity at heart of UW political scientist Mark Smith’s book ‘Secular Faith’

Mark A. Smith's "Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics" was published in September by University of Chicago Press.

Mark A. Smith is a University of Washington professor of political science and adjunct professor of comparative religion. He is the author of “Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics,” published in September by University of Chicago Press. He answered a few questions about his book for UW Today. What’s the concept…


December 4, 2015

UW project focuses on fines and fees that create ‘prisoners of debt’

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Criminals are meant to pay their debts to society through sentencing, but a different type of court-imposed debt can tie them to the criminal justice system for life and impact their ability to move forward with their lives. Though debtors’ prisons were eliminated in the United States almost two centuries ago, a modern-day version exists…


December 1, 2015

UW roboticists learn to teach robots from babies

photos of gaze experiments

A collaboration between University of Washington developmental psychologists and computer scientists has demonstrated that robots can “learn” much like babies – by experiencing the world and eventually imitating humans.


November 30, 2015

UW researchers estimate poverty and wealth from cell phone metadata

The northern and western provinces are divided into cells (the smallest administrative unit of the country), and the cell is shaded according to the average (predicted) wealth of all mobile subscribers in that cell. The southern province is overlaid with a Voronoi diagram that uses geographic identifiers in the call data to divide the region into several hundred thousand small partitions, which each may be as small as a household or a microvillage.

In developing or war-ravaged countries where government censuses are few and far between, gathering data for public services or policymaking can be difficult, dangerous or near-impossible. Big data is, after all, mainly a First World opportunity. But cell towers are easier to install than telephone land lines, even in such challenged areas, and mobile or…


November 25, 2015

The spillover effect: Good teaching doesn’t stop at the classroom door

Jirka Matousek/Flickr

Effective teachers don’t just impact their own students’ achievement, they can significantly improve the performance of their fellow teachers’ students, new research shows.


November 23, 2015

AAAS names four UW researchers as fellows

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Four University of Washington researchers are among 347 new fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for 2015.


November 6, 2015

UW women studies department marks 45th anniversary

GirlsWalkingQuad

Nancy Kenney came to the University of Washington in 1976 with a joint appointment in psychology and women studies. The arrangement was typical — women studies professors at the UW then had joint appointments, Kenney said, because the program wasn’t expected to be around long. “Women studies was not expected to be a viable academic…


November 4, 2015

Krispy Kreme crack and luxury food fever: new book links overeating to consumer culture

Overeating

In an era of Fitbits, Skinnygirl margaritas and kale mania, isn’t overeating simply a failure of willpower, an unwillingness or inability to make good choices? It’s not that simple, says Kima Cargill, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Washington in Tacoma. In her new book “The Psychology of Overeating,” Cargill places the…


October 21, 2015

UW autism expert helped shape new ‘Sesame Street’ initiative

"Sesame Street" character Abby Cadabby, right, is part of the new See Amazing in All Children campaign.

During its almost half-century on television, “Sesame Street” has tackled thorny issues ranging from divorce to death, food insecurity and parental incarceration. The show is now turning its attention to autism, and a University of Washington expert played a pivotal role in the effort. Wendy Stone, director of the UW’s Research in Early Autism Detection and Intervention…


October 20, 2015

UW study: Will Puget Sound’s population spike under climate change?

Seattle panorama at night

A UW graduate student’s research paper is the first serious study of whether climate change is likely to cause human migration to the Puget Sound region.


October 19, 2015

‘Pivotal Tuesdays’: New book by historian Margaret O’Mara studies four key elections of 20th century

"Pivotal Tuesdays: Four Elections that Shaped the Twentieth Century" by University of Washington professor Margaret O'Mara, was published by University of Pennsylvania Press.

Margaret O’Mara, UW associate professor of history, discusses her new book, “Pivotal Tuesdays: Four Elections that Shaped the Twentieth Century.”


October 14, 2015

Venture capital investors with competing interests can inhibit innovation

Print

For entrepreneurs, connections are as good as gold. Especially connections with the right investors. But connections with the wrong investors can inhibit a firm’s ability to innovate, according to new research from the Foster School of Business.


October 12, 2015

New UW School of Law group to study marijuana regulation for state of Washington

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A new group at the UW School of Law will spend the academic year studying existing and emerging markets for marijuana, to assist and inform the state as it prepares to blend current medical and recreational markets for cannabis.


October 7, 2015

New UW report paints sobering picture of urban education in the US

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A groundbreaking new report provides a sobering picture of the state of urban education in America, especially when it comes to educational opportunities for poor students and students of color, who now make up the majority of America’s public school students nationwide. The report provides the first citywide assessment of the changing and complex public…


October 6, 2015

UW study finds LGBTQ older adults in Seattle/King County face higher health risks

The number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) older adults in Seattle and King County is expected to double by 2030, and they face higher risks of disability, poor health, mental distress and isolation — along with a social service sector unequipped to deal with their needs. That’s the conclusion of a study…


September 30, 2015

Ballmers’ support for UW School of Social Work reaches $32 million

The Ballmers' gift will help provide scholarships for students in the UW Master of Social Work program.

The University of Washington will help more social work graduate students pay for their studies and start their careers without staggering debt loads, thanks to significant support from Connie and Steve Ballmer. The Ballmers’ contributions include a new gift of $20 million, bringing the couple’s support for the UW School of Social Work to $32…


Math and me: Children who identify with math get higher scores

How strongly children identify with math (their math “self-concept”) can be used to predict how high they will score on a standardized test of math achievement, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Washington.


September 8, 2015

Gender, corporate culture at Boeing explored in new book ‘Capitalist Family Values’

"Capitalist Family Values: Gender, Work, and Corporate Culture at Boeing" by Polly Myer, lecturer in the UW history department. We offer a Q and A with Myers.

Polly Myers is a lecturer in the UW Department of History and author of the book “Capitalist Family Values: Gender, Work, and Corporate Culture at Boeing,” published by University of Nebraska Press.


August 31, 2015

UW students put data science skills to use for social good

The Data Science for Social Good team that worked on the family homelessness project.

They could easily spend their days poring over statistical methods for a genetic study or sorting through data about consumer behavior on the other side of the globe. But this summer, data scientists at the University of Washington’s eScience Institute took a break from their typical work helping researchers and professors to incorporate cutting-edge technologies…



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