UW News

Social science


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

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  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

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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…


November 2, 2016

Devin Naar’s book ‘Jewish Salonica’ tells of city’s transition from Ottoman Empire to Greece

"Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece" was published in September by Stanford University Press.

Prof. Devin Naar of the Jackson School and the Department of History discusses his new book, “Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece,”


October 31, 2016

UW hosts two-day event on urban environmental justice

SeattleSkyline

From access to green space to pollution exposure, environmental issues in cities often disproportionately impact low-income communities and people of color. Climate change can exacerbate those issues, affecting everything from housing to food systems. And growing numbers of people moving to urban areas further strains infrastructure and creates additional challenges. The complex interplay between urban…


October 28, 2016

Interdisciplinary inspiration: Special journal edition honors multitalented UW alum, NOAA economist

Mark Plummer, 1975

In a tribute to a local natural resources economist’s life and career, former colleagues and collaborators — including several UW researchers and many alums — have contributed articles published this week in a special edition of the environmental science journal Coastal Management.


October 25, 2016

New NSF initiative to bring ‘real-world’ mathematics to elementary education

Julia Aguirre, associate professor of mathematics education at the University of Washington Tacoma.

The National Science Foundation will fund a three-year, $1.5 million research project to study teaching and learning of mathematical modeling in elementary education. Julia Aguirre, an associate professor of mathematics education at the University of Washington Tacoma, is one of four principal investigators leading the endeavor. “Mathematical modeling is a process of using mathematics to…


October 21, 2016

Communication professor Leah Ceccarelli honored, discusses ‘rhetoric of science’

Leah Ceccarelli - story is a Q and A with her about her work, for which she was given the National Communication Association's 2016 Douglas W. Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar Award.

Communication professor Leah Ceccarelli discusses the work that brought her the National Communication Association’s Douglas W. Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar Award for 2016.


October 12, 2016

Why do some STEM fields have fewer women than others? UW study may have the answer

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Women’s relative lack of participation in science, technology, engineering and math is well documented, but why women are more represented in some STEM areas than others is less clear. A new University of Washington study is among the first to address that question by comparing gender disparities across STEM fields. Published Oct. 12 in the…


Cars vs. health: UW’s Moudon, Dannenberg contribute to Lancet series on urban planning, public health

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Automobiles — and the planning and infrastructure to support them — are making our cities sick, says an international group of researchers now publishing a three-part series in the British medical journal The Lancet.


October 5, 2016

$4M grant funds new UW RAPID Facility to investigate natural disasters worldwide

LIDAR scan of earthquake damaged home

A new UW disaster investigation center funded by a $4 million National Science Foundation grant will collect and analyze critical data that’s often lost in the immediate aftermath of hurricanes and earthquakes but that can help create more resilient communities.


September 26, 2016

UW archaeology field school unearths ‘treasure trove’ of tribal artifacts

Group of students at field school on Grand Ronde reservation

Finding a long-buried outhouse might not sound exciting to most people, but to Sara Gonzalez and her crew, it was a holy grail of sorts. An assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Washington, Gonzalez led an archaeological field school this summer on a tribal reservation in northwestern Oregon. Gonzalez and a team of…


September 23, 2016

UW prof the first recipient of national social work award

Paula Nurius

University of Washington social work professor Paula Nurius is the inaugural recipient of a new national award for helping advance doctoral education in her field. Nurius will receive the 2016 Educational Leadership in Doctoral Education award from the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE) at a meeting in November. The…


September 21, 2016

UW team to study baby teeth in effort to identify autism risk factors

Close-up of child's teeth

University of Washington researchers are part of a national team that will study the baby teeth of children who have siblings with autism to determine if prenatal exposure to chemicals increases their risk of developing the disorder. The study will involve testing children’s teeth for levels of environmental chemicals that they might have been exposed…


September 8, 2016

Life after Fitbit: Appealing to those who feel guilty vs. free

Is life better or worse after sticking your Fitbit in a drawer? UW researchers surveyed hundreds of people who had abandoned self-tracking tools and found emotions ranged from guilt to indifference to relief that the tracking experience was over.

Is life better or worse after sticking your Fitbit in a drawer? UW researchers surveyed hundreds of people who had abandoned self-tracking tools and found emotions ranged from guilt to indifference to relief that the tracking experience was over.



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