UW News


May 13, 2019

From counseling services to commissary items, how the private sector shapes ‘offender-funded justice’

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An article by University of Washington sociology professor Alexes Harris focuses on the role of the private sector in collecting court-imposed fines and fees.


May 10, 2019

UW students face food, housing insecurity, survey shows

A study of college students from around the state shows the prevalence of depression and anxiety. Suicide prevention advocates say this illustrates the need for more mental health resources on campuses.

Early results from a faculty-led survey on the University of Washington’s three campus estimate the extent of food and housing insecurity among students.


May 6, 2019

Security cameras in nursing homes aim to protect the vulnerable but present ethical dilemmas

Berridge nursing home photo 1

With reports of crimes against nursing home residents gaining media attention around the country, seven states have passed laws regulating the use of cameras in care facilities. An assistant professor in the University of Washington School of Social Work outlines the list of legal and moral issues that surveillance raises.


April 22, 2019

Brains of blind people adapt to sharpen sense of hearing, study shows

People who are visually impaired rely on other senses to interpret their surroundings. A pair of studies from the University of Washington shows how the brains of blind people adapt to process information. Photo of blind person walking with cane.

Research from the University of Washington uses functional MRI to identify two differences in the brains of blind individuals — differences that might be responsible for their abilities to make better use of auditory information.


April 8, 2019

How societal attitudes, political rhetoric affect immigrants’ health

This 2007 photo shows the border between California, left, and Tijuana, Mexico, right.

For immigrants to the United States, the current political climate, and debates over issues such as a border wall, become part of the environment that influences their health, according to a new University of Washington study.


March 21, 2019

How discrimination, PTSD may lead to high rates of preterm birth among African-American women

African-American women give birth prematurely at a higher rate than white women, a trend a University of Washington study suggests is attributable to racial discrimination and PTSD. Photo of woman and her baby.

African-American women are nearly twice as likely to give birth prematurely as white women. Amelia Gavin, an associate professor in the University of Washington School of Social Work, connects preterm birth to racial discrimination via PTSD.


March 12, 2019

A school that values diversity could have health benefits for students of color

Photo of empty classroom

Students of color who attend schools with a culture and mission statements that emphasize the value of diversity show better cardiovascular health than peers whose schools do not express such values, according to a new study.


March 7, 2019

UW anthropologist connects communities to archive of Khmer Rouge-era Cambodia

This is one of dozens of photographs of Cambodian citizens, taken by journalist and UW alum Elizabeth Becker on her tour of the country in 1978. Photo of young girl in a factory

A new project by Jenna Grant, UW assistant professor of anthropology, uses an archive of photos and documents from the Khmer Rouge era — the donation of a journalist and UW alum — to help facilitate storytelling among Cambodians and Cambodian-Americans.


March 5, 2019

Reading summer camp? Study to examine how soon-to-be kindergartners are wired for literacy

A study this summer will examine how the word-recognition portion of the brain develops in preschoolers. Photo of young child sorting cards with simple words on them.

The University of Washington is launching a reading instruction study this summer, a two-week “camp” targeting children entering kindergarten in the fall that aims to teach early literacy skills and measure brain activity before and after instruction.


February 20, 2019

Playground study shows how recess can include all children

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Recess, for most children, is synonymous with freedom. A break from class that has nothing to do with learning and everything to do with play. For children with autism, the playground can be an isolating experience. The spontaneous soccer games, roving packs of friends and virtual buffet of activities can be chaotic, frustrating and confusing….


February 6, 2019

Parenting in the age of legal pot: Household rules, conversations help guide teen use

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The legalization of marijuana in Washington state in 2012 gave parents the opportunity for a new teachable moment. Many say that as society has become more permissive, they want information and advice.


January 29, 2019

Organizations come together to show support for suicide prevention

Mock headstones outside the State Capitol mark the number of people who died by suicide in Washington in one year. Forefront Suicide Prevention, based at the University of Washington, places the headstones as part of its annual Education Day event in Olympia. Photo of hundreds of headstones on the lawn in front of the State Capitol building.

Community impact and public health solutions are the focus of the Forefront Suicide Prevention Education Day, to be held Feb. 11 at the Washington Capitol in Olympia. Forefront, based at the UW School of Social Work, is leading the event, a series of speakers and events aimed at raising awareness, providing training and pushing for change.


January 28, 2019

Even a one-hour ‘planting party’ can lift spirits, build skills among women in prison, study shows

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Exposure to nature, even through a brief gardening activity, can improve well-being among women in prison, a UW Tacoma-led study finds.


January 22, 2019

Forefront, UW Tacoma receive Boeing grants for veteran career services, suicide prevention

Forefront Program Coordinator Brett Bass joins fellow veterans to build awareness about the Save Homes, Suicide Aware program. Photo of Brett talking to two veterans.

Boeing has awarded $300,000 to Forefront Suicide Prevention and University of Washington Tacoma for work with veterans. Forefront, at the UW School of Social Work, received $205,000 to expand veteran-specific outreach, and UWT received $95,000 for career services for veterans.


January 15, 2019

Researchers can predict childhood social transitions

A University of Washington-led study finds that children who socially transition to the gender "opposite" their sex at birth also demonstrate strong "cross-gender" identities before the transition. Photo of two children in silhouette.

A new University of Washington study suggests that the children most apt to socially transition to the gender “opposite” their sex at birth are those who already demonstrate the strongest “cross-gender” identities, and that the transitions don’t appear to alter a child’s gender identity or preferences.


December 17, 2018

How a workshop about getting along became a story stoking division

A University of Washington class meets outside of Mary Gates Hall on a sunny day. Photo of students in a circle under a tree.

A small study about a workshop to bring together students of different political persuasions found that workshop participants were able to better understand their fellow students as individuals, but their attitudes about opposing beliefs, in general, did not change.


December 12, 2018

Attention, please! Anticipation of touch takes focus, executive skills

A study of 6- to 8-year-old children by the University of Washington and Temple University found that the anticipation of touch was associated with executive function skills such as selective attention and working memory. Photo of children's hands.

A study by the University of Washington and Temple University examines what happens in children’s brains when they anticipate a touch to the hand, and relates this brain activity to the executive functions the child demonstrates on other mental tasks.


December 11, 2018

What social stress in monkeys can tell us about human health

A University of Washington-led study found that social status in rhesus macaques affected how the animals responded to stress. Photo of monkey looking at camera.

A new University of Washington-led study examines one key stress-inducing circumstance — the effects of social hierarchy — and how cells respond to the hormones that are released in response to that stress.


November 29, 2018

Why culture is key to improving the ‘interpretive power’ of psychology

University of Washington

Three researchers from the University of Washington Department of Psychology say existing practices overlook the importance of culture, and suggest how individuals and institutions can be more inclusive.


November 26, 2018

Parents learn, babies talk: How coaching moms and dads leads to better language skills among infants

Talking to a baby in "parentese," with its elongated vowels and exaggerated tones of voice, can improve the infant's language skills over time, according to a new University of Washington study. Photo of mother looking and talking to her baby.

A new study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) shows that parents who learn how and why to speak “parentese” can have a direct impact on their children’s vocabulary.


November 19, 2018

The ‘Swiss Army knife of prehistoric tools’ found in Asia, independent of ancient African or European influence

These artifacts found in China are among the nearly four dozen that reflect the Levallois technique of toolmaking. In a paper published Nov. 19 in Nature, researchers date these artifacts to between 80,000 and 170,000 years ago. Photo of various stones, shaped by knapping.

A study by an international team of researchers, including from the University of Washington, determines that carved stone tools, also known as Levallois cores, were used in Asia 80,000 to 170,000 years ago. With the find — and absent human fossils linking the tools to migrating populations — researchers believe people in Asia developed the technology independently, evidence of similar sets of skills evolving throughout different parts of the ancient world.


November 5, 2018

Violence in childhood leads to accelerated aging, study finds

A study led by the University of Washington finds that children who are exposed to violence tend to age faster. Photo of teenager's feet.

A new study of nearly 250 children and teens led by the University of Washington found that participants who had suffered abuse were developing faster than those who had not.


October 30, 2018

Study reconstructs Neandertal ribcage, offers new clues to ancient human anatomy

Neandertal skull

An international team of researchers, including from the University of Washington, has completed a 3D virtual reconstruction of a Neandertal thorax a model that indicates an upright individual with greater lung capacity and a straighter spine than today’s modern human.


October 24, 2018

New center to recognize American Indian and Indigenous Studies

Bronze W autumn

As the discipline of American Indian Studies approaches its 50th year at the University of Washington, a new research center is in the works: the Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies, which is supported by multiple colleges and schools.


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 10, 2018

How a community reclaimed its Southeast Seattle high school

Rainier Beach High School in Southeast Seattle was proposed for closure in 2008, but community members rallied around a new vision for the school. Photo of front of school building.

When Rainier Beach High School was proposed to close in 2008, community members rallied around a new vision for the school, which has since nearly doubled its enrollment and introduced a more rigorous curriculum.


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 D. 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.


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 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 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.


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.


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 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.


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…



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