UW News

Social science


May 15, 2017

Code of conduct needed for ocean conservation, study says

fishermen in thailand

A diverse group of the world’s leading experts in marine conservation is calling for a Hippocratic Oath for ocean conservation ― not unlike the pledge physicians take to uphold specific ethical standards when practicing medicine.


Where you live may impact how much you drink

Neighborhoods with greater poverty and disorganization may play a greater role in problem drinking than the availability of bars and stores that sell hard liquor, a University of Washington-led study has found.

    Neighborhoods with greater poverty and disorganization may play a greater role in problem drinking than the availability of bars and stores that sell hard liquor, a University of Washington-led study has found. While there is evidence for the link between neighborhood poverty and alcohol use, the new twist — that socioeconomics are more…


May 11, 2017

Suicide prevention messages are top priority for UW’s Forefront

Sylvan Grove columns

University of Washington advocates for suicide prevention were busy pushing for legislation in Olympia, working on programs with more than a dozen local high schools and organizing the fourth annual Husky Help & Hope walk when an online TV show about suicide suddenly captivated a teenage audience. To the staff of UW-based Forefront: Innovations in…


May 9, 2017

Early human fossils found in South African cave system

This skull, part of a skeleton that scientists have named Neo, was found in the Lesedi Chamber of the Rising Star Cave system in South Africa. Most of the bones in the middle of the face are intact, unlike another skull found in a nearby chamber of the cave system.

  An international team of scientists, including one from the University of Washington, has announced the discovery of additional remains of a new human species, Homo naledi, in a series of caves northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa. The find includes the remains of two adults and a child in the Lesedi Chamber of the Rising…


May 3, 2017

UW School of Social Work to host May 9 event ‘How Shifting Federal Priorities Impact the Poor’

Photo by Katherine Turner.

For social service agencies, pinning down funding is par for the course. But there is heightened interest in the new administration’s priorities, and whether services to the poor will be among them. That lack of certainty — and a need to share information — prompted the University of Washington School of Social Work and the…


April 28, 2017

Class on Black Lives Matter examines ideas behind the slogan

UW January 2017 Campus Shots

At first, La TaSha Levy was worried her class on Black Lives Matter would be almost out of date. After all, who hasn’t seen the signs, heard the slogans, watched — or perhaps even participated in — marches to protest racism and violence against African Americans? But that was just it, realized Levy, a new…


April 27, 2017

Can early experiences with computers, robots increase STEM interest among young girls?

A young girl takes notice of a robot project at a college event promoting science to children.

Girls start believing they aren’t good at math, science and even computers at a young age — but providing fun STEM activities at school and home may spark interest and inspire confidence. A study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) finds that, when exposed to a computer-programming activity, 6-year-old…


April 26, 2017

Food photos help Instagram users with healthy eating

Image of food photographs posted on Instagram

A new study describes how some people turn to posting photos on Instagram to track food intake or to be held accountable by followers in meeting healthy eating or weight loss goals.


April 25, 2017

With autism diagnoses on the rise, UW establishes clinic for babies

Research scientist Tanya St. John works with a baby at the University of Washington Autism Center.

To new parents, a baby’s every gurgle and glance are fascinating, from a smile at mom or dad to a reach for a colorful toy. But when a baby doesn’t look at parents and caregivers, imitate gestures and sounds, or engage in play, parents have questions. And a growing number are bringing their babies to…


April 24, 2017

UW Law School hosts ‘How We Police in America: A Case for Reform’ May 4

Law School event

Officer-involved shootings. Federal investigations. Body cameras. Civilian review boards. Black Lives Matter. Blue Lives Matter. In cities around the country, the relationship between police and community is fraught with tension — sometimes the direct result of violent incidents, sometimes the reverberations of problems elsewhere. And almost always, talk of police reform is in the air….


Military service boosts resilience, well-being among transgender veterans

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  Transgender people make up a small percentage of active-duty U.S. military personnel, but their experience in the service may yield long-term, positive effects on their mental health and quality of life. A study from the University of Washington finds that among transgender older adults, those who had served in the military reported fewer symptoms…


April 20, 2017

Research team tracks complex web of monetary sanctions in 9 states

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UW sociologist Alexes Harris leads a team of researchers at nine universities who are exploring the role of monetary sanctions in the criminal justice system. They recently completed a review of financial punishments in the laws of each of their home states. Based on their preliminary findings, the impact to a person’s pocketbook depends largely on his or her location on a map.


April 19, 2017

More than recess: How playing on the swings helps kids learn to cooperate

boy swinging

A favorite childhood pastime — swinging on the playground swing set — also may be teaching kids how to get along. The measured, synchronous movement of children on the swings can encourage preschoolers to cooperate on subsequent activities, University of Washington researchers have found. A study by the UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences…


April 14, 2017

UW tax program takes law students to remote corners of Alaska

Snowmobiles are a common mode of transportation.

Tax Day can mean different things to different people: stacks of paperwork; evenings at the kitchen table; appointments with the accountant; the rush to the post office to meet the deadline. For about 20 University of Washington law students, it means a February trip to the frozen tundra. Each year, in advance of the April…


April 13, 2017

Married LGBT older adults are healthier, happier than singles, study finds

rainbow flag

  Same-sex marriage has been the law of the land for nearly two years — and in some states for even longer — but researchers can already detect positive health outcomes among couples who have tied the knot, a University of Washington study finds. For years, studies have linked marriage with happiness among heterosexual couples….


April 12, 2017

Why treating animals may be important in fighting resurgent tropical disease

A pet macaque sits with its owner in Bangladesh. Such familiarity could facilitate the transmission of infectious diseases from owner to monkey.

  As the World Health Organization steps up its efforts to eradicate a once-rampant tropical disease, a University of Washington study suggests that monitoring, and potentially treating, the monkeys that co-exist with humans in affected parts of the world may be part of the global strategy. Yaws, an infectious disease that causes disfiguring skin lesions…


March 28, 2017

After much media attention, UW Information School’s ‘Calling BS’ class begins

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The very name of the class, when proposed, seemed to fire imaginations nationwide and beyond. Now with the beginning of spring quarter, the UW Information School’s new course “Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data” is getting started.


Parents who play ‘Pokémon GO’ with kids: ‘It wasn’t really about the Pokémon’

Parents who played Pokemon GO with their children reported increased exercise, outdoor experiences and family bonding.

In the first study to survey and interview parents who play Pokémon GO with their children, families report a number of side benefits, including increased exercise, more time spent outdoors and opportunities for family bonding.


March 22, 2017

Race, health, justice topics for March 31 UW symposium on medical ethics

Photo by Katherine Turner.

The interdisciplinary 2017 Benjamin Rabinowitz Symposium in Medical Ethics on March 31, titled “Race, Health & Justice,” will explore inequities in health and health care and place them in political, economic and historical context.


March 15, 2017

Adrian Raftery receives Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day Medal for contributions to statistics

UW professor Adrian Raftery.

On March 15 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., Prime Minister Enda Kenny of Ireland honored Adrian Raftery, a professor of statistics and sociology at the University of Washington, for his diverse contributions to the field of statistics. Kenny presented Raftery with the St. Patrick’s Day Medal, which is awarded each year by Science Foundation…


March 13, 2017

Crowdfunding for medical bills a Band-Aid, not a cure-all, UW Bothell study finds

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Crowdfunding campaigns to pay for medical costs have become a booming industry, but the majority of such campaigns do not reach their financial goal, according to new research from the University of Washington, Bothell.


March 3, 2017

‘Poor writing makes for poor science’: Scott Montgomery publishes new edition of popular ‘Guide to Communicating Science’

The second edition of "The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science" by Scott L. Montgomery, published in February 2017 by University of Chicago Press Books.

Scientific research that doesn’t get communicated to the public may as well not have happened at all, says Scott Montgomery in the second edition of “The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science.”


February 28, 2017

UW security researchers show that Google’s AI platform for defeating Internet trolls can be easily deceived

photo of researchers

UW researchers have bypassed Google’s new machine learning system that aims to curb toxic comments in online discussion forums can by simply misspelling or adding unnecessary punctuation to abusive words.


February 23, 2017

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

Bronze W

Twenty-one UW undergraduate and graduate students received a Fulbright award and six scholars from the UW were awarded Fulbright grants for 2016-17.


February 15, 2017

UW affiliate faculty member in anthropology presents her book, ‘Seawomen of Iceland’

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Maritime communities take various forms around the planet and through the centuries. Margaret Willson, affiliate associate professor of anthropology and Canadian Studies Arctic Program at the University of Washington, is the author of “Seawomen of Iceland: Survival on the Edge,” published in 2016 by University of Washington Press. UW Today asked Willson a few questions…


Predicting autism: Researchers find autism biomarkers in infancy

Two people looking at a computer

By using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the brains of infants who have older siblings with autism, scientists were able to correctly identify 80 percent of the babies who would be subsequently diagnosed with autism at 2 years of age.


February 13, 2017

New findings reveal health, aging experiences of LGBT older adults across nation

rainbow flag

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers from the University of Washington’s School of Social Work have released new findings this month on the health and aging of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults in the U.S.


February 6, 2017

‘Overwhelming’ response, global press attention for new UW Information School course, ‘Calling BS’

It’s almost unheard-of for a university class to spark global press attention — and offers of book deals — before instruction even begins. But such is the case with the UW Information School’s new course, “Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data.”


February 1, 2017

UW introduces new master’s degree in applied child & adolescent psychology

Boy and young woman teacher during private home lesson

A new UW graduate degree program – the Master of Arts in Applied Child & Adolescent Psychology: Prevention & Treatment – aims to meet the growing need for mental health professionals trained to serve children, teens and families.


January 31, 2017

UW’s Forefront to recreate memorial, advocate for solutions at Suicide Prevention Education Day in Olympia

Photograph of 2016 memorial

The UW-based Forefront will host a memorial for Washington state residents who died by suicide and join firearms dealers, veterans’ organizations, pharmacists, health care providers and suicide attempt and loss survivors to advocate for two legislative bills as part of Suicide Prevention Education Day.


January 12, 2017

Big data to help homelessness: Topic of UW, City of Seattle event Jan. 17

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Using big data to address human services ― including health, foster care and the challenges of homelessness ― will be the focus of a workshop next week at Seattle City Hall hosted by the University of Washington and City of Seattle along with MetroLab Network, a recent White House initiative to improve cities through university-city partnerships.


December 21, 2016

Study: Children can ‘catch’ social bias through nonverbal signals expressed by adults

Little girl looking up with concerned look

Most conscientious adults tend to avoid making biased or discriminatory comments in the presence of children. But new research from the University of Washington suggests that preschool-aged children can learn bias even through nonverbal signals displayed by adults, such as a condescending tone of voice or a disapproving look. Published Dec. 21 in the journal…


December 19, 2016

$5 million will expand UW-developed technology to help West Coast children and families

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Technology developed at the University of Washington to improve service delivery in child welfare, foster care and homeless youth systems will soon be expanded to other states through $5 million in new funding. The grant will allow Oliver — a social service management solution developed by Partners for Our Children, an organization in the UW…


December 13, 2016

Studies of vulnerable populations get a ‘bootstrapped’ boost from statisticians

a crowd of people in a building

In a paper published online Dec. 7 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of Washington researchers report on a statistical approach called “tree bootstrapping” can help social scientists study hard-to-reach populations like drug users.


December 6, 2016

Put people at the center of conservation, new study advises

fishing boats off the coast of Thailand

People must be part of the equation in conservation projects to increase local support and effectiveness, according to a new study by the University of Washington and other institutions.


November 18, 2016

Q&A: Harry Stern discusses historical maps, the Northwest Passage and the future of Arctic Ocean shipping

Historic map with red markings

See also: “How Capt. James Cook’s intricate 1778 records reveal global warming today in Arctic” Seattle Times, Nov. 16 Harry Stern, a polar scientist at the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory, has been studying the Arctic Ocean for decades, and sailed part of the Northwest Passage in 2009. Stern’s latest work uses the earliest…


November 17, 2016

New UW major prepares educators for lessons outside the traditional classroom

The UW's new Education, Communities & Organizations major started in the fall quarter.

Kim Boudreau enrolled at the University of Washington planning to major in business administration and human resources management, but it didn’t feel like quite the right fit. Boudreau realized she was interested in workforce training, so she added a minor in education. But she still wasn’t convinced her studies would take her where she wanted…


November 15, 2016

Study provides insight into children’s race and gender identities

Diverse group of children

Children’s knowledge and use of race and gender labels have been well-explored by researchers, but how kids think about their own identities in those contexts, especially before adolescence, is less clear. A new study from the University of Washington provides a rare glimpse into how children perceive their social identities in middle childhood. The research…


November 14, 2016

State’s housing market strong in third quarter of 2016

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Washington state’s housing market remained strong in the third quarter of 2016, according to the UW’s Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies.


November 7, 2016

Telephone-based intervention shows promise in combating alcohol abuse among soldiers

Researchers used ads and informational booths at military events to recruit participants for the study.

Alcohol abuse is pervasive in the military, where a culture of heavy drinking and the stress of deployment lead many soldiers down a troubled path. Almost half of active-duty military members in the United States — 47 percent — were binge-drinkers in 2008, up from 35 percent a decade earlier. Rates of heavy drinking also…



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