UW Today

Social science


December 14, 2015

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

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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…


August 24, 2015

To get girls more interested in computer science, make classrooms less ‘geeky’

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Women lag behind men in the lucrative computer science and technology industries, and one of the possible contributors to this disparity is that they’re less likely to enroll in introductory computer science courses. A new study of 270 high school students shows that three times as many girls were interested in enrolling in a computer…


Blacks hit hardest by public-sector job losses during recession, study finds

Exterior photo of large government building in Mississippi

The public sector has long served as an equalizer in American society, a place where minority workers could find stable employment that offered advancement and a reliable path to a middle-class life. But the Great Recession wiped out many of those jobs, as tax revenues declined and anti-government sentiment added to a contraction that continued…


August 20, 2015

Hunger drives unethical acts, but only in the quest for food

Print

Ever been so hungry that you can’t think of anything but finding food? Research from the UW Foster School of Business finds that the single-mindedness that results from hunger makes people more likely to commit unethical acts to satisfy that hunger — but less likely to lie, cheat or steal for reasons that don’t address the immediate physiological need.


August 18, 2015

Thanks and pass the candy: Feelings of gratitude increase the consumption of sweets

Gratitude is universally considered a social good, but gratitude can have a dark side. It can impel us to eat more sweets, according to new research by Ann Schlosser, professor of marketing at the UW Foster School of Business.


August 11, 2015

Behaviors linked to adult crime differ in abused girls and boys, study finds

Black and white photo of boy sitting alone outside a brick building.

The signs that an abused child might later commit crimes might not be obvious — that boisterous playground behavior from a third-grade boy, for example, or the 10-year-old girl who seems a little anxious or withdrawn. But new research from the University of Washington suggests that troubling behaviors exhibited by abused children can be predictors…


August 6, 2015

Abusive men put female partners at greater sexual risk, study finds

Black and white photo of woman sitting alone on stairs

Abusive and controlling men are more likely to put their female partners at sexual risk, and the level of that risk escalates along with the abusive behavior, a UW study found. Published in the Journal of Sex Research in July, the study looked at patterns of risky sexual behavior among heterosexual men aged 18 to…


July 30, 2015

UW-led group launches plan to reduce youth problems by 20 percent in a decade

Black and white image shot from the back of three boys walking.

A national coalition of experts that includes two University of Washington researchers has a bold plan to reduce behavioral health problems such as violence and depression among young people across the country by 20 percent in a decade. And their proposal rests on one simple principle: prevention. The group’s paper, recently published on the National…


July 29, 2015

Healthier Puget Sound depends on healthy people, report finds

man jumping into the water in puget sound

The Puget Sound Partnership on Wednesday adopted new targets that seek to quantify aspects of the natural environment that boost our collective happiness and wellness. These people-focused benchmarks will help inform restoration plans and assess future progress in cleaning up Puget Sound.


July 27, 2015

Babies’ brains show that social skills linked to second language learning

an example of gaze shifting

New findings by researchers at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington demonstrate for the first time that an early social behavior called gaze shifting is linked to infants’ ability to learn new language sounds.


July 22, 2015

Distinguished faculty to be inducted into Washington State Academy of Sciences

Detail from the Turing exhibit at a science museum

In recognition of their outstanding records of scientific achievement, 12 University of Washington professors will be inducted this fall into the Washington State Academy of Sciences. The professors will be honored for their “willingness to work on behalf of the academy” to bring top-quality scientific methods to research issues pertaining to Washington state. The induction ceremony will be…


July 16, 2015

New book by UW’s Philip Howard urges democratic values for coming Internet of Things

"Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up," by University of Washington professor Philip Howard, was published this spring by Yale University Press.

UW professor Philip Howard discusses his new book, “Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set us Free or Lock Us Up,” published this spring by Yale University Press.


July 7, 2015

Harsh prison sentences swell ranks of lifers and raise questions about fairness, study finds

There are currently close to 1,400 inmates serving official or de facto life sentences in Washington state.

Stricter state sentencing laws in Washington have swelled the ranks of inmates serving life sentences to nearly one in five. And some lifers who opted to go to trial are serving much longer sentences than others who committed the same crimes and plea-bargained — raising questions about equitable treatment of prisoners. Those are among the…


June 24, 2015

Group at UW shows how to account for nature’s benefits in decisions

Planting mangroves for coastal protection in Placencia, Belize.

The Natural Capital Project, with offices at UW, wants to integrate the socioeconomic, cultural and spiritual values of nature into all major decisions affecting the environment and human well-being.


June 22, 2015

Manning up: Men may overcompensate when their masculinity is threatened

A hand gripping

From the old Charles Atlas ads showing a scrawny male having sand kicked in his face to sitcom clichés of henpecked husbands, men have long faced pressure to live up to ideals of masculinity. Societal norms dictating that men should be masculine are powerful. And new University of Washington research finds that men who believe…


June 19, 2015

Access to electricity is linked to reduced sleep

A Toba/Qom child sleeps.

New research comparing traditional hunter-gatherer living conditions to a more modern setting shows that access to artificial light and electricity has shortened the amount of sleep humans get each night.


June 16, 2015

Study reveals surprising truths about caregivers

Father Holding Daughter's Hand

Caregiving is a part of daily life for millions of Americans, particularly the so-called sandwich generation balancing the needs of aging parents with looking after their own children. A new study looks at just who is doing that caregiving, and who they’re caring for — and some of the findings are surprising.


June 11, 2015

Nearly half of African-American women know someone in prison

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African-American adults — particularly women — are much more likely to know or be related to someone behind bars than whites, according to the first national estimates of Americans’ ties to prisoners.


Greater suicide prevention efforts coming to rural Washington state

washington women's foundation logo

Washington state’s rural communities with the highest suicide rates soon will get more resources to help with prevention training and support. Washington Women’s Foundation is giving Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention $100,000 for suicide prevention in six underserved rural communities.


June 9, 2015

Early intervention improves long-term outcomes for children with autism

A toddler takes part in early intervention activities at the UW Autism Center.

Early intervention for toddlers with autism spectrum disorder helps improve their intellectual ability and reduces autism symptoms years after originally getting treatment, a new study shows.


June 3, 2015

Ocean Modeling Forum to bring human element to herring fishery, others

An albatross catches a herring.

The Ocean Modeling Forum is trying something very rare — bringing together multiple science models and people who care about a particular ocean resource or fishery to decide what’s most important for its vitality and the communities it serves.



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