news 2020


Social Sciences

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Environment - Social Sciences - 01.12.2020
Gentrification disproportionately affects minorities
Disadvantaged residents from predominately Black neighborhoods have fewer options in face of gentrification. A new study by a Stanford sociologist has determined that the negative effects of gentrification are felt disproportionately by minority communities, whose residents have fewer options of neighborhoods they can move to compared to their white counterparts.

Social Sciences - 30.11.2020
PTSD contributes to suicide risk, particularly for women
Women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are nearly seven times more likely than other women to die by suicide, according to a new study led by UCL researchers. The study of over 3 million people in Sweden, published in The Journal of Affective Disorders , found a similar but weaker relationship among men, who were four times more likely to die by suicide if they had a prior PTSD diagnosis.

Life Sciences - Social Sciences - 30.11.2020
Conversing with infants may affect their brain circuitry
Stanford researchers studied fiveto eight-month-old babies and found that caregivers' speech is associated with activation in brain regions that are involved in language comprehension. While babies aren't known for being great conversationalists, talking to them can still be worthwhile. A new Stanford study finds that engaging in "conversations" with adults may help infant brains develop, especially those areas involved in language comprehension.

Health - Social Sciences - 30.11.2020
Mothers’ stress may lead to preterm births, faster aging in children
Why do some people age faster than others? One potential answer, a new UCLA-led study indicates, is that a mother's stress prior to giving birth may accelerate her child's biological aging. The researchers found evidence that maternal stress adversely affects the length of a baby's telomeres — the small pieces of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that act as protective caps, like the plastic tips on shoelaces.

Social Sciences - Psychology - 30.11.2020
Duchess of Cambridge spearheads early years study involving UCL
The Duchess of Cambridge has unveiled the findings of the biggest ever UK study on the early years, involving researchers at UCL and the Anna Freud Centre. The study marks a milestone moment for her work on the importance of early childhood in shaping the rest of our lives and broader societal outcomes.

Social Sciences - 25.11.2020
The smell of cooperation
Research team with the University of Göttingen finds effect of odour on helpfulness in rats Despite their reputation, rats are surprisingly sociable and actually regularly help each other out with tasks. Researchers at the Universities of Göttingen, Bern and St Andrews have now shown that a rat just has to smell the scent of another rat that is engaged in helpful behaviour to increase his or her own helpfulness.

Health - Social Sciences - 20.11.2020
People in prison should be prioritised for any COVID-19 vaccine
Preventing serious complications from COVID-19 in potentially vulnerable populations in high risk environments, such as prisons, and preventing spread to surrounding communities needs a coordinated evidence-based approach to managing outbreaks of COVID-19 in prison settings.

Psychology - Social Sciences - 20.11.2020
High levels of serious mental health difficulties among 17-year-olds
16% of teenagers report high levels of psychological distress at age 17, finds a new study led by UCL researchers based on data collected in 2018-19. The findings also show 24% of young people report self-harming and 7% report self-harming with suicidal intent by age 17. The research, which is being published in a  briefing paper  by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) at the UCL Social Research Institute provides evidence of widespread mental health difficulties among the UK's Generation Z before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

Social Sciences - 20.11.2020
'Spill-over' effects show hidden value of prioritising education of poorest children and marginalised girls
’Spill-over’ effects show hidden value of prioritising education of poorest children and marginalised girls
International development projects that target the education of the world's very poorest children and marginalised girls also significantly improve other young people's attainment, according to new research that suggests such initiatives should become a priority for international aid.

Social Sciences - 20.11.2020
What motivates people to protest taxation?
Everyone loves to complain that their taxes are too high. Yet few people actually take the time to formally protest them. A recent deep-dive into property tax appeals in Texas offers new insights on what motivates people to protest or accept their tax obligations. "Historically, the study of people's support for taxation was limited to survey data, asking people whether they prefer higher or lower taxes," says Berkeley Haas Assoc.

Social Sciences - 18.11.2020
Closing Symposium of the TIGER Project
Closing Symposium of the TIGER Project
TIGER is an project between France, Germany and Switzerland to support the cross-border monitoring and control of the Asian tiger mosquito in the Upper Rhine region. On 13 November, Swiss TPH hosted a one-day virtual symposium, where the project team, consisting of Swiss TPH and partners, presented on the current situation of the spread of the tiger mosquito in the region, as well as the project results from the past three years.

Environment - Social Sciences - 18.11.2020
Predicting urban water needs with Zillow and census data
New Stanford research uses Zillow and census data combined with machine learning to identify residential water consumption based on housing characteristics. The approach could help cities better understand water use and design water-efficient communities. The gateway to more informed water use and better urban planning in your city could already be bookmarked on your computer.

Health - Social Sciences - 16.11.2020
Dieting and weight worries on rise in teens
Significantly higher numbers of Generation Z boys and girls in the UK are dieting to lose weight, and are likely to overestimate their own weight, finds a new UCL-led study. The research, published in JAMA Pediatrics , found that girls who are trying to lose weight are also more likely to experience depressive symptoms than in previous years.

Social Sciences - Life Sciences - 15.11.2020
Study explores neural mechanisms behind support for political violence
Psychologists have often studied the "bright side" of morality-its role in promoting cooperation, for example. But new research from the University of Chicago suggests that morality also has a "dark side": Sometimes, social values held with moral conviction can be used to justify violence. The study, led by Prof. Jean Decety, used MRI scanning to map participants' evaluations of photos of political violence-defined as physical assaults of other people, not property damage-that were either aligned with or contrary to the views they held.

Social Sciences - Psychology - 13.11.2020
UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute sees ’contagious kindness’ in action "We laid out a framework for understanding why witnessing kindness motivates being kind," said UCLA's Daniel Fessler. Today is World Kindness Day, and despite the current state of political tension, kindness is pretty easy to perpetuate, a UCLA study reveals. “Each of us is kind to someone, and therefore have the potential to be kind to everyone, even those with whom we differ politically,' said Daniel Fessler, director of the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute, housed in the UCLA College division of social sciences.

Materials Science - Social Sciences - 11.11.2020
Rethink needed to stop the spread of hateful material online
Rethink needed to stop the spread of hateful material online
Digital platform Reddit's efforts to limit the spread of hateful and misogynistic content is driving users to self-moderated forums where the material can spread largely unchecked, according to new research from The Australian National University (ANU).

Social Sciences - 10.11.2020
India’s clean fuel transition slowed by cooks’ belief that firewood is better for well-being - study
India's transition to clean cooking fuels may be hampered by users' belief that using firewood is better for their families' wellbeing than switching to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), a new study reveals. Women are considered primary family cooks in rural India and those featured in the study feel that both fuels support wellbeing.

Social Sciences - 10.11.2020
Analysis of Trump’s tweets reveals systematic diversion of the media
President Donald Trump's controversial use of social media is widely known and theories abound about its ulterior motives. New research published today claims to provide the first evidence-based analysis demonstrating the US President's Twitter account has been routinely deployed to divert attention away from a topic potentially harmful to his reputation, in turn suppressing negative related media coverage.

Life Sciences - Social Sciences - 10.11.2020
Female mongooses start violent fights to mate with unrelated males
Female banded mongooses lead their groups into fights then try to mate with enemy males in the chaos of battle, new research has found. Meanwhile, males bear the costs of these fights - injuries and deaths are common.  The mortality costs involved are similar to those seen in a handful of the most warlike mammals, including lions, chimpanzees, and humans Rufus Johnstone Mongooses rarely leave the group they are born into, so members are usually genetically related.

Health - Social Sciences - 06.11.2020
Common cold antibodies could help protect against COVID-19
Some antibodies created by the immune system during infection with common cold coronaviruses can also target and provide a degree of protection against COVID-19, finds new research by scientists at UCL and the Francis Crick Institute. In response to infection with a virus, the immune system creates antibodies to help fight it.
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