UW News

Social science


April 10, 2020

Local response to UW social isolation study leads to national effort

person walking alone

With most states now under stay-at-home orders, UW researchers have launched a national study to test whether a motivational, mental health tip each day changes participants’ behavior during social distancing, and improves their mental and relational health.


Large majority of state’s heroin users want to reduce use; syringe programs helping during COVID-19 crisis

Man preparing for outreach

A new survey of people who inject illicit drugs in the state of Washington yields positive and important findings for policy makers as the world struggles to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, said authors of the survey by the University of Washington and Public Health-Seattle & King County. Most people – 82% ­– who inject…


April 7, 2020

Education books: Athletics and higher ed, supervising school principals, activist-oriented teaching — and a conversation with James Banks on his new book of essays

James Banks, professor emeritus of education at the UW has a new book of essays out

A talk with James Banks, UW professor emeritus of education, about his new book of essays, and three other education books are also noted.


March 31, 2020

Republican governors delayed key COVID-19 social distancing measures

Digital sign says Save Lives Now Stay Home COVID-19

New research by the University of Washington examines factors that contributed to decision-making by governors in all 50 states to combat the novel coronavirus.


March 12, 2020

Staying connected — at a distance

It’s important to maintain human connection, even during a time of social distancing, UW psychology researchers say.


March 9, 2020

Book notes: UW architectural historian Tyler Sprague explores the work of Kingdome designer Jack Christiansen

Tyler Sprague is an assistant professor of architecture who studies and teaches structural design and architectural history. A former structural engineer himself, Sprague is the author of "Sculpture on a Grand Scale: Jack Christiansen's Thin Shell Modernism."

A talk with UW architecture professor Tyler Sprague about his book “Sculpture on a Grand Scale: Jack Christiansen’s Thin Shell Modernism.” Plus books from Rick Bonus and Yong-Chool Ha.


March 2, 2020

Not a ‘math person’? You may be better at learning to code than you think

Woman working on computer, wearing headset while

New research from the University of Washington finds that a natural aptitude for learning languages is a stronger predictor of learning to program than basic math knowledge.


February 26, 2020

Wildness in urban parks important for human well-being

beach in seattle

A new University of Washington study has found that not all forms of nature are created equal when considering benefits to people’s well-being. Experiencing wildness, specifically, is particularly important for physical and mental health.


February 20, 2020

New, UW-developed data tool tracks state legislative process, from first draft to final law

A new, University of Washington-developed data visualization tool draws on bill information made available by the Washington State Legislature to enable students, journalists and voters to visually explore the lawmaking process.


February 10, 2020

UW study reveals gender, racial disparities in evictions

Photo of closed door with eviction notice on the front

A new University of Washington study of eviction filings from each of Washington’s 39 counties illustrates where, and to whom, evictions hit hardest.


Increases in minimum wage may not have anticipated positive health effects, study shows

Coins spilled from jar

  In the decade-long absence of federal action, many states, counties and cities have increased minimum wages to help improve the lives of workers. While political debate over these efforts has long been contentious, scientific research on the health effects of raising the minimum wage is relatively new. Some studies have found higher minimum wages…


February 7, 2020

Interactive map shows worldwide spread of coronavirus

heatmap of China showing worldwide spread of coronavirus

University of Washington geographer Bo Zhao has created an interactive map, updated every few hours, of coronavirus cases around the world.


February 4, 2020

Altruistic babies? Study shows infants are willing to give up food, help others

Toddler offers bowl of raspberries to camera.

New research by the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences finds that altruism may begin in infancy. In a study of nearly 100 19-month-olds, researchers found that children, even when hungry, gave a tasty snack to a stranger in need.


February 3, 2020

Not just ‘baby talk’: Parentese helps parents, babies make ‘conversation’ and boosts language development

Parent and baby sit facing each other, playing patty-cake.

A study by the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington finds the value of using “parentese,” an exaggerated speaking style that conveys total engagement with a child.


January 23, 2020

UW research expands bilingual language program for babies

Toddlers stand in a circle, clapping. Adults stand nearby.

A study by the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) shows that a bilingual language program for babies can reach more families, and instructors, through online training for teachers.


January 22, 2020

Community-based counselors help mitigate grief, stress among children orphaned in East Africa

Group of people pose outside a building.

The University of Washington led a clinical trial involving more than 600 children in Kenya and Tanzania, in which community members were trained to deliver mental health treatment, showed improvement in participants’ trauma-related symptoms up to a year after receiving therapy.


January 21, 2020

A foundation for ‘safe motherhood’ created with and for the Somali community

On a recent Saturday evening, a dozen women gathered around a table at a community room in the White Center neighborhood of Seattle, settling in with snacks and conversation. The evening’s program would be more education than entertainment, an opportunity to discuss topics so sensitive that, without the group of women assembled that night, might…


January 14, 2020

Faculty/staff honors: Consulting assignment in Africa, honorary doctorate in Bern, conservation leadership award

Recent honors to UW faculty and staff include an honorary doctorate from the University of Bern, an award for biodiversity conservation and a consulting assignment for the World Health Organization.


January 6, 2020

Supporting diversity, inclusion in neuroscience: A conversation about the BRAINS Program with UW psychology professor Sheri Mizumori

The 2019 cohort for the BRAINS program, or Broadening the Representations of Academic Investigators in NeuroScience. Program evaluator Cara Margherio is in the back row, two people to the left of the post. Co-director Claire Horner-Devine is at the far right. Laura Ciotto , program operations, is at the far left. Co-director Joyce Yen is at the far left, middle row. Director Sheri Mizumori is fifth from the right in the front row.

A conversation with UW psychology professor Sheri Mizumori about the UW-based program Broadening the Representations of Academic Investigators in NeuroScience — or BRAINS for short — designed to accelerate career advancement for postdoctoral researchers and assistant professors from underrepresented populations.


December 19, 2019

Mindful travel, Silicon Valley’s evolution, Schumann on viola, Seattle history — UW-authored books, music for the Husky on your list

A list of several UW-authored books and cds that might make good holiday gifts.

  A teacher discusses respectful world travel, a historian explores Silicon Valley’s evolution, a professor and violist plays the music of Robert Schumann and a late English faculty member’s meditation on Seattle returns … Here’s a quick look at some gift-worthy books and music created by UW faculty in the last year — and a…


November 26, 2019

Dads in prison can bring poverty, instability for families on the outside

A new University of Washington study finds that families with a father in prison tend to live in neighborhoods with higher poverty.


November 18, 2019

Among transgender children, gender identity as strong as in cisgender children, study shows

Photo of two children, in silhouette, on a beach

New findings from the largest study of socially-transitioned transgender children in the world, conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, show that gender identity and gender-typed preferences manifest similarly in both cis- and transgender children, even those who recently transitioned.


November 4, 2019

Single discrimination events alter college students’ daily behavior

Five hands making fists in a circle. All arms have black Fitbit trackers on them.

UW researchers aimed to understand both the prevalence of discrimination events and how these events affect college students in their daily lives. Over the course of two academic quarters, the team compared students’ self-reports of unfair treatment to passively tracked changes in daily activities, such as hours slept, steps taken or time spent on the phone.


October 29, 2019

UW book notes: Political scientist Megan Ming Francis to edit new series on race, ethnicity, politics

Megan Ming Francis, UW political science professor, who will edit a new book series on race, ethnicity and politics

University of Washington political scientist Megan Ming Francis says there is a dearth of academic book series being published on topics of race, ethnicity and politics. Now, she will start to change that. An associate professor of political science, Francis will be the editor of a new series of books from Cambridge University Press called…


October 28, 2019

Teen marijuana use may have next-generation effects

Marijuana plants

A new study by the University of Washington’s Social Development Research Group shows how a parent’s use of marijuana, past or present, can influence their child’s substance use and well-being.


October 15, 2019

Deaf infants more attuned to parent’s visual cues, study shows

Baby looking at something not seen by the camera.

A University of Washington-led study finds that Deaf infants exposed to American Sign Language are especially tuned to a parent’s eye gaze, itself a social connection between parent and child that is linked to early learning.


October 14, 2019

Fishing for the triple bottom line: profit, planet — and people

fish swimming

In a new study, an interdisciplinary group of researchers used Pacific herring in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, as a case study for modeling the implicit tradeoffs within the triple bottom line that result from various fisheries management decisions.


October 8, 2019

New paper explores race, representation in campaign finance

Jake Grumbach, UW political science professor with new research on race and campaign giving

In American politics, the question of “Who donates?” is linked to the crucial question of “Who governs?” Most campaign donations historically have come from white voters. But new UW-led research indicates that if more candidates of color ran for office, donations from individuals of color would likely increase as well.


Genes contribute to dog breeds’ iconic traits

A new study by a research team that included the University of Washington offers new evidence to support what scientists have long suspected about dogs: that some dog behaviors that help characterize breeds — a drive to chase, for example, or aggression toward strangers — are associated with distinct genetic differences among them.


October 4, 2019

Health disparities, strong social support among state’s LGBTQ community

Two gender nonbinary people sit on steps outside and talk.

A report released Oct. 4, the Washington State Equity and Diversity Project, is the first study of its kind to examine the health of LGBTQ people of all ages throughout the state.


September 26, 2019

Income gains for many, but no change in poverty rates for Seattle and King County

The share of Washingtonians living below the federal poverty threshold declined from 11.0 to 10.3 percent between 2017 and 2018, according to new Census data released Thursday. 


September 25, 2019

Fish micronutrients ‘slipping through the hands’ of malnourished people

man selling fish

Millions of people are suffering from malnutrition despite some of the most nutritious fish species in the world being caught near their homes, according to new research published Sept. 25 in Nature.


Joel Migdal, founder of International Studies Program, to mark UW retirement with public lecture, workshop, Oct. 3

Joel Migdal retiring Jackson School professor founded the UW international studies program

Joel S. Migdal, professor in the UW Jackson School of International Studies, will celebrate retirement after 39 years at the UW on Oct. 3 with a daylong workshop featuring current and former students, followed by a lecture on “State and Society: Then and Now.”


September 5, 2019

Study shows exposure to multiple languages may make it easier to learn one

Man writes on whiteboard.

A new study from the University of Washington finds that, based on brain activity, people who live in communities where multiple languages are spoken can identify words in yet another language better than those who live in a monolingual environment.


August 29, 2019

Crowdsourced archaeology shows how humans have influenced Earth for thousands of years

Regions of the map turn purple as the time-lapse counter advances, showing the spread of agriculture over time.

A new map synthesized from more than 250 archaeologists worldwide, including from the University of Washington, argues that the human imprint on our planet’s soil goes back much earlier than the nuclear age.


August 22, 2019

UW books in brief: Tribal sovereignty and the courts, mentoring through fan fiction, UW Press paperback editions

Recent notable books by UW faculty members explore the legal history of Indigenous nations and the mentoring benefits of fan fiction. Plus, a UW anthropologist’s book is honored, a former English faculty member is remembered in a biography, and UW Press brings out paperback editions of three popular titles.


August 8, 2019

Study shows gun shops can aid in preventing suicides

Man behind the counter of a gun shop talks to a customer.

Firearm retailers throughout Washington are willing to learn about suicide prevention but are reluctant to talk to customers about mental health issues, according to a new study by Forefront Suicide Prevention at the University of Washington.


July 25, 2019

Decades after a grade-school program to promote social development, adults report healthier, more successful lives

Photo of adult helping a boy in class with a paper.

University of Washington researchers have found that that “good life” in adulthood can start in grade school, by teaching parents and teachers to build stronger bonds with their children, and to help children form greater attachments to family and school.


July 24, 2019

How to consider nature’s impact on mental health in city plans

two children in park

An international team led by the UW and Stanford has created a framework for how city planners and municipalities around the world can start to measure the mental health benefits of nature and incorporate those into plans and policies for cities and their residents.


July 16, 2019

8 UW professors elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences in 2019

Suzzallo Library at night

Eight scientists and engineers from the University of Washington have been elected this year to the Washington State Academy of Sciences.



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