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The people of the UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences make news. And they lend their expertise to media outlets big and small, locally and around the world.

Jelena JovanovicA team of developers that includes Cognitive Science alumna Jelena Jovanovic has won the $500,000 grand prize in Intel’s Make It Wearable challenge for their wrist-mounted camera drone called Nixie. The device can travel a fixed distance from its owner to take a photo or video of them, and then return. Images or video can instantly be shared with friends.


"The Democrats' Immigration Problem," by Zoltan Hajnal in The New York Times: "President Obama's executive order eliminating the threat of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants is good policy. It is the right thing to do. But it is a dangerous move for the Democratic Party."


Adam Schneider in Damascus, 2010. Photo courtesy Schneider.Too many people, not enough water – now and 2700 years ago. New research co-authored by doctoral candidate Adam Schneider of Anthropology suggests that drought and overpopulation helped destroy the Assyrian Empire. The Climatic Change paper draws parallels with modern Syria and Iraq, and cautions other regions also facing weather stresses today

In memoriam: Melford E. Spiro, 94, founder of UC San Diego's Department of Anthropology.


Carol PaddenMeet the new dean of the Division of Social Sciences: Carol Padden. 


Don Norman at the Design Lab“Design is not about making something look pretty. It’s about making the world work better. I mean everything, from your cellphone to health care to education to our impact on the environment. That’s what we’re focused on." -- Don Norman, founding chair of Cogntive Science at UC San Diego and a former Apple VP, on returning to campus to head the university's Design Lab. The lab is a campus-wide initiative bringing together numerous disciplines to explore design and shape its future. Read more in this U-T feature.


"Voting is habit-forming, but so is sitting out an election," writes Thad Kousser of Political Science in a Los Angeles Times op-ed. Based on his own and others' research, Kousser urges outreach to "forgotten voters," or those that campaigns believe are unlikely to cast a ballot. Doing so will not only increase turnout but will also improve representation.

Keith Pezzoli digging at Ocean View Growing GroundsTurning food deserts into food forests: A successful collaboration between the community and campus is creating a sustainable model to ensure that people in underserved areas have access to nutritious food. Keith Pezzoli, director of Urban Studies and Planning, is part of the inspiring effort. He is pictured here with communnity leaders at the Ocean View Growing Grounds in Southeast San Diego.


Global health student Michelle Buterys and children in South Africa, jumpingUndergraduates at UC San Diego can now pursue a bachelor of arts in global health – an increasingly popular new field of study and urgent social concern. Launched this fall, the new interdisciplinary major in the Division of Social Sciences is a first in the University of California system, as was the global health minor that preceded it.


Congratulations to Marta Kutas of Cognitive Science, recipient of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s 2015 Distinguished Career Contributions Award; to Tom Levy of Anthropology, on election to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts; and to James Fowler of Political Science – on being named to the Politico 50 list of "thinkers, doers and dreamers who really matter in this age of gridlock and dysfunction.”


Washington Monthly image of recruiting signWhy are Harvard grads still flocking to Wall Street? Students from elite colleges, writes Amy Binder of Sociology in the Washington Monthly, march off to jobs at the big banks and consulting firms less by choice than because of a rigged recruiting game that the schools themselves have helped to create.


$100 million per barrel oil is here to stay, says James Hamilton of Economics in a new paper, even if peace breaks out in the Middle East.


Zoltan HajnalTo prevent future Fergusons, we must increase representation writes Zoltan Hajnal of Political Science in the Los Angeles Times. 


In a Gender & Society study, sociologist Abigail Andrews finds that “returning immigrant women bring something quite meaningful back with them – the motivation to improve the economic and political climate of their village in Mexico.”


Andrea ChibaAndrea Chiba of Cognitive Science has won an NSF “EAGER” award. Chiba will be working on the "socially situated neuroscience" project with Laleh Quinn, also of Cognitive Science, and colleagues in bioengineering at UC San Diego as well as the University of Queensland, Australia. 


Eli Berman of Economics spoke with KPBS about ISIS and why Americans join terrorist groups. Earlier in the year, Berman appeared on BBC World News to talk about security in Afghanistan and, in May, his research team got word of a five-year grant from the Minerva Initiative to study how a country like the United States works with local allies to address a shared threat in a dynamic setting. 


Christine Harris with Samwise - photo by Steve HarrisIt's not just for humans. Dogs can act jealous, too, finds a new study by Psychology professor and alumna Christine Harris and honors student Caroline Prouvost. Supporting the view that a basic form of jealousy may have evolved to protect social bonds from interlopers, the paper made headlines nationally and internationally.  Some of the outlets covering, to name just a few:  New York Times, NPR, Washington Post, Slate, TIME, USA Today, National Geographic and Newsy.  


Taking paternity leave encourages other men to follow suit, finds a study co-authored by Gordon Dahl of Economics. The effect is most pronounced when a manager takes the leave. The Atlantic reports.


Friends are the family you choose: Genome-wide analysis by James Fowler of Political Science and Yale colleague Nicholas Christakis published in PNAS reveals that unrelated pairs of friends have genetic similarities. The study was widely covered: NPR, Washington Post, AP, Reuters, Smithsonian Magazine, CNN, CBS News and many others


Carol Padden will be dean of the Division of Social Sciences starting Oct. 1, 2014. The sign-language scholar and MacArthur "genius grant" winner is a doctoral alumna of Linguistics and has been a faculty member in Communication since 1983. She currently serves as UC San Diego's interim vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion.


New York Times logo"Racial realism” in the workplace threatens the equal-opportunity goals of the Civil Rights Act, writes John Skrentny of Sociology and Center for Comparative Immigrations Studies – in his recent book and in a New York Times op-ed.  


Can language influence our perception of reality? Slate-UC partnership story on the research of Lera Boroditsky of Cognitive Science. 


Detail of a ledger drawing by Kiowa artist Koba - driving in the horsesToronto's The Globe and Mail explores the legacy of American Plains Indian ledger drawings, an art form weighted by tragedy -- with Ross Frank of Ethnic Studies. Image: Detail of a drawing by the Kiowa artist Koba. 


"We know intuitively that strong relationships are the underpinning of successful organizations but we pay little attention to this fact as we design and implement complex change,” writes Alan Daly of Education Studies , with Kara S. Finnigan of the University of Rochester. The researchers use social network analysis to explain in the Washington Post “Answer Sheet” why building relationships is vital to school reform.


“Republicans’ increasing reliance on white voters may not spell electoral doom just yet,” writes the Washington Post based on research by Marisa Abrajano of Political Science. Abrajano’s analysis was also covered by many other outlets, including the Christian Science Monitor in a story about why the Latino vote still matters.


NSF highlights research by John Haviland of Anthropology. Haviland is studying the creation of a complex sign language among an extended family of Mayan Indians in an isolated community in highland Chiapas, Mexico.


English learners who are reclassified as proficient in English by the end of fifth grade perform as well or better academically than native English speakers – and they continue to do so through middle and high school, finds the “Pathways to Fluency” report (PDF) co-authored by researchers at the Public Policy Institute of California with Julian Betts, Andrew Zau and Karen Volz Bachofer at the San Diego Education Research Alliance (SanDERA), an independent research entity based in UC San Diego’s Department of Economics.


Previous News Highlights

Bradley VoytekZombie-brain expert: Bradley Voytek of Cognitive Science, writes UT San Diego, "is a young, award-winning neuroscientist who explores how and why disease can afflict the human brain. But he is better known for his tongue-in-cheek explanations of why the living dead are so lively." 


Kudos! To Kutas, Ramachandran and Elman. Jeff Elman, dean of the Division of Social Sciences, has been  selected as UT Austin's Outstanding Graduate Alumnus for 2014. OnlinePhDProgram.org identifies Marta Kutas, chair of Cognitive Science, as one of "100 Notable Professors at Top Research Universities." Also on the list is recent sociology Ph.D. alumn Erin Cech, now teaching at Rice. And ARCS Foundation has named V.S. Ramachandran of Pyschology "Scientist of the Year."


Pinocchio-nosed boyDon't fib to kids: Leslie Carver of Psychology and undergraduate alumna Chelsea Hays have published a paper in Developmental Science showing that children who have been lied to are themselves more likely to cheat and lie. This is the first paper to demonstrate a connection between adult dishonesty and children's subsequent behavior. Science News and NBC local, among others, reported on the research. Photo © Bowie15 | Dreamstime.com


Urban Studies and Planning students find that designers and planners miss the mark  UT San Diego reports on the 24th annual Urban Expo.


40th Faculty Excellence Awards: Leslie Carver of Psychology wins the award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and is recognized for her “wise and inspiring” leadership.


Happy and sad faces in a social networkYou can catch a mood online? A study led by James Fowler of Political Science shows that Facebook feelings are contagious. Also, postive posts are more viral than negative ones. Coverage includesTIME, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, BBC and many others.


Valerie Ramey

Valerie Ramey of Economics was quoted in a Washington Post column about the effect of the economic stimulus.


Are social media raising an army of armchair activists? A study co-authored by Kevin Lewis of Sociology analyzes the Save Darfur Cause on Facebook when it was at its height and counted more than a million members. The vast majority of these supporters donated no money and recruited no one, suggesting that the commitment to the cause might have been only as deep as a click. The study was covered by New Scientist, Wired UK, CNET Australia and Pacific Standard, among others.


Clark Gibson at Afghan elections in 2010Citizen monitor: Can a text message get a person to the polls? What about an online social network – can a posting there persuade a voter to report back on what they observe during an election? These are among the questions that a team headed by Clark Gibson of Political Science will be seeking to answer during the 2014 national elections in South Africa, thanks to a $1.38 million Stage 2 Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) grant from the USAID, or US Agency for International Development. The current grant will build on some of the ideas first piloted in Afghanistan in 2010. 


Girls working on science projectA lever for local STEM education: The STEM Success Initiative, led by CREATE, aims to gather community and university resources to lift the region’s K-20 education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


There is no safe combination of drinking and driving, finds a study led by David Phillips of Sociology. Analysis of more than 500,000 fatal crashes in the U.S. finds that drivers with blood alcohol content as low as 0.01 percent – well below the legal limit of 0.08 – are 46 percent more likely to be at fault than the sober drivers they collide with. The study was extensively covered by the press, including the Huffington Post, US News & World Report and Reuters.


Boys getting medical exam When a doctor’s visit is a guilt trip: Psychologist Christine Harris examines patient reactions to physician-inspired guilt and shame. The Atlantic covered the study as did MSN via Quartz and Huffington Post, among others.


"Valley Girl" talk is, like, on the rise? Graduate student Amanda Ritchart of Linguistics documents that both young men and women are using "SoCal English," a dialect characterized by uptalk, or higher intonation at the end of statement so it sounds almost like a question. Coverage includes WBUR, UT San Diego, Scientific American and Washington Post.


Give Directly man with bike and cell phoneMoney for nothing: GiveDirectly is a nonprofit that does something radical – almost heretical – in the world of international charity: It gives cash directly to those who need it without any strings attached. Each donation is about $1,000, deposited through a mobile banking system straight to a recipient’s phone. In Kenya, where the group began operations, this is equivalent to a year’s wages. The windfall is not a loan. And what’s required in return is exactly nothing. GiveDirectly was co-founded by Paul Niehaus of Economics.


Keith RaynerKudos to Keith Rayner of Psychology! Rayner has been honored by the FABBS Foundation and as a William James Fellow by the Association for Psychological Science for "lifetime of significant intellectual contributions to the basic science of psychology."


UC San Diego is a top producer of Fulbright students. And Sharon Seegers, an alumna of Political Science, is one of them. 


Does the use of government assistance by parents make their children more likely to use welfare, too? Yes, suggests research coauthored by Gordon Dahl of Economics.


Race and romance, online. Photo © Michelle HaymozRace and romance, online: Study of internet dating by Kevin Lewis of Sociology suggests racial barriers can be overcome. USA Today, KPBS, Huffington Post, NPR and many others reported on the research. Photo © Michelle Haymoz.


Social Sciences Dean Jeff Elman discusses UC San Diego’s foray into massive, open, online courses, or MOOCs, with KPBS.


Talk to your toddler. And use numbers when you talk. Doing so may give a child a better head start in math than teaching her to memorize 1-2-3 counting routines, finds an international study led by David Barner of Psychology and Linguistics.


The 2013 fall issue of UC San Diego’s alumni magazine, Triton, is bursting with a “Back to School” package. Check out all the stories focused on Education Studies’ 40 years of scholarship and outreach.


Carol Padden convocation 2014MacArthur “Genius” Award winner Carol Padden – Linguistics alumna, Communication professor and associate dean of Social Sciences at UC San Diego – gave the keynote address at this year's Welcome Convocation. In her inspiring speech, she urged new freshmen and transfer students to stretch, to take "reasonable" risks and to explore different points of view. A university education, she said, is “about becoming a person.”


The campus has created the Center for Brain Activity Mapping, and Ralph Greenspan of Cognitive Science has been named founding director.


San Diego Mayor Bob Filner: Political scientist Steve Erie, director of Urban Studies and Planning, talks with Bloomberg, TIME, NPR, U-T San Diego, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and many others about the scandal at City Hall.


DolphinsDolphins have dolphin-given “names”? Apparently so. Doctoral students Whitney Friedman and Jeremy Karnowski of Cognitive Science speak with National Geographic about a study out of the University of St. Andrews.


Peter H. SmithThe Latin American Studies Association selected Peter H. Smith of Political Science for its highest honor, the Kalman Silvert Award, presented every year to “an eminent senior scholar for distinguished lifetime contributions to the study of Latin America.”


Twelve UC San Diego students and recent alumni have won Fulbright grants to conduct research abroad.


Sara Clarke Kaplan“The problem is that despite our two-term black president, despite our oft-repeated desire for a colorblind society, despite our willingness to applaud companies for dropping products sold by slur-spewing celebrities..., racism remains an integral part of the United States,” writes Sara Clarke Kaplan of Ethnic Studies in the U-T. Her opinion piece is on the verdict acquitting George Zimmerman of Trayvon Martin's murder.


Ellen T. Comisso, 1947-2013. The UCSD Department of Political Science will hold a public celebration of her life in the fall quarter; date to be announced mid-September. In the meanwhile, the department remembers this pioneering professor of Eastern European political economy with a written memorial (PDF).


Math Is the universe inherently mathematical...or is math a construct of the brain? It’s physicists v. neuroscientists in this edition of a Kavli Foundation roundtable discussion. Math is not somewhere out there, according to Rafael Nunez of Cognitive Science. “Math is a form of human imagination,” he says, “that is not only brain-based but that is also culturally shaped.”


Alan Houston of Political Science is UC San Diego’s Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. Read the Q&A in ThisWeek@UCSanDiego.


Ed Studies alumna Cindy Marten, the new superintendent of San Diego Unified, “has zeroed in on principals, appointing the district’s first mentor principal to coach those new to the profession,” writes the U-T.


Tom WongAre you following the immigration debate? So is Tom K. Wong - closely. And the UCSD political scientist is blogging about it at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies. He predicted the Senate vote. His work has been covered by ABC News/Univision, Southern California Public Radio, New York Times, Fronteras Desk, KPBS, Yahoo News and Univision.


Linguist David Perlmutter and anthropologist Kathryn Woolard have been elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences


Linguistics Goes to HollywoodInventors of fantastic and alien tongues, including alum David Peterson of Linguistics, discuss the art of constructing languages – Klingon for “Star Trek,” Na’vi for “Avatar” and Dothraki for “Game of Thrones.”



Ralph GreenspanUC San Diego will play a key role in President Obama’s
BRAIN initiative.


Would a ban on large soda drinks backfire? A UC San Diego psychology experiment says “yes.” In addition to the Los Angeles Times, also covering the research led by graduate student Brent Wilson were: the Washington Post, CBS News, Huffington Post and NBC’s “Today,” among many others.


Mary Blair-LoyEnd of men? Not even close, says Mary Blair-Loy of Sociology in new report on gender in the professions.


The self-described “tinkerers” and “hacker-ninjas” behind a free web app they call “KA Lite” have an immodest goal: They aim to bring the revolution in online education to the 65 percent of the world that isn’t online. Led by Jamie Alexandre of Cognitive Science, the team of social-sciences students is breaking down barriers to the Internet commons.KA Lite


The New York TimesKPBS and Marketplace, among others, reported that the Obama administration plans to launch a decade-long Brain Activity Map project and that the effort would include Ralph Greenspan of the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind.


Cingy MartenEducation Studies alumna Cindy Marten has been named superintendent of San Diego Unified, the state’s second-largest school district, the U-T San Diego and others report. A profile of Marten details city-wide advocacy and an impressive collection of fortune-cookie fortunes. Alumna Tina Rasori, meanwhile, a teacher at Fay Elementary in City Heights, was featured in a front-page U-T story on the new Common Core standards. 


Former UC President and UC San Diego Chancellor Richard Atkinson of Psychology and Cognitive Science has donated $3.5 million to the National Academy of Sciences to create a $200,000 prize “to recognize and support scientists in improving our understanding of how the mind works.”  Read more.


The U.S. is facing a debt situation that could become “unmanageable” in the next decade, warns a paper coauthored by James Hamilton of Economics and reported on by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times “Economix” blog, among others.


The Atlantic reported on research by Gail Heyman of Psychology showing that while a majority of American parents lie to their children, nearly all Chinese parents do and see less harm in it, too.


A critic sat in on the California government and politics class co-taught by Nathan Fletcher and Thad Kousser of Political Science, filing this light-hearted report in the U-T: “Nathan Fletcher Gets Schooled.”  


Karen DobkinsKaren Dobkins of Psychology appears in a TEDx America’s Finest City video: “The Space Between Kansas and Oz.” Dobkins was also quoted by the Scientist in a story on brain adaptations among deaf people. 


UC San Diego is beginning to offer massive open online courses, or MOOCs, partnering initially with Coursera and Google. The U-T story reporting on the announcements quoted Social Sciences Dean Jeff Elman.


PolitiFact story attempting to sort out the debate between Carly Fiorina and Paul Krugman on the government’s role in promoting economic growth cited research by Valerie Ramey of Economics showing that government spending does not boost activity in the private sector.


Think Tanks in AmericaWashington Post’s “Wonkblog” and the LSE Review of Books ran positive pieces on “Think Tanks in America” by Tom Medvetz of Sociology.


Karthik Muralidharan of Economics wrote a piece on primary education policy for the Economic Survey of India 2013, issued by the Ministry of Finance; his argument that, above all else,holding teachers accountable improves student learning  was cited by the Times of India.


Doctoral candidate Michael Madowitz and alumnus Kevin Novan of Economics published an op-ed in the Washington Post:  “Why Sales Taxes and Gasoline Don’t Mix.”


Chronicle of Higher Education story on the problems in priming research cites at length Hal Pashler of Psychology, the “most prolific of the Replicators.” Pashler’s work is also cited in a Sunday New York Times op-ed.


Plains Indian LedgerAlternative Accounts”: Curated by an interdisciplinary group of students and Ross Frank of Ethnic Studies, an exhibition of Plains Indian ledger art at the San Diego Museum of Art gives a glimpse of Native visions of American history.


New Republic published a glowing review of “Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives,” by Amy Binder and doctoral student Kate Wood of Sociology. Binder also appeared on WPR’s “Joy Cardin” show and MSNBC’s “The Cycle” to talk about the book.


John SkrentnyJohn Skrentny of Sociology and the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies is now one of the U-T San Diego’s “Insights on Immigration” panel of experts. Skrentny was also quoted in a U-T story about Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs’ meeting with President Obama to discuss immigration reform.


Work by Gordon Dahl of Economics showing that an increase in family income has significant effects on a poor child’s test scores is cited in an Examiner.comstory on the Earned Income Tax Credit.


Ben Bergen of Cognitive Science spoke about his book “Louder than Words: The New Science of How the Mind Makes Meaning” on KPCC’s “Air Talk.” He is also featured on Zocalo Public Square and in a Brain Science Podcast


WIRED LogoWired piece on “how Facebook is transforming science and public health” cited research led by James Fowlerof Political Science. 


Wall Street Journal story on Venezuela’s continuation of Hugo Chavez’s “heating-oil diplomacy” quoted David Mares of Political Science. 


Schools need strong social networks to implement changes grounded in research, according to work presented on Capitol Hill by Alan Daly of Education Studies and blogged about by Learning First. 


Eli Berman of Economics is quoted in an International Business Times story suggesting that some of the international aid going to the Palestinian Authority is used to pay Palestinian prisoners’ salaries.


Voice of San Diego story taking Mayor Filner to task for his ideas on San Diego-Tijuana collaboration quoted Oscar Romo of Urban Studies.


PRI’s “The World” spoke with Wayne Cornelius of Political Science and the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies for a story about families torn apart by immigration rules.


Gary Jacobson of Political Science was quoted in a Huffington Post story looking at fundraising for the Senate 2014 race.


“Kabuki theater,” said Steve Erie of Urban Studies and Political Science to the U-T  of Assembly Bill 291, which would automatically sunset state boards and departments. 


Fans of the TV show “Downtown Abbey” were enraged by a media spoiler revealing a major character’s death, and The Week cited research led by Nicholas Christenfeld of Psychology to temper the anger. 

Events

Feb. 26, 2015
Social Sciences Supper Club:

Don Norman of Cognitive Science on the university's new Design Lab.

Archive

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News contact: Inga Kiderra

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