Wealth affects driving and other behaviors, research says.

May 2017

Gaining wealth seems to have a damaging effect on a person's character, according to research done by Paul Piff, assistant professor of psychology and social behavior. Plus, they're worse drivers.

The wealthy, Piff said to philly.com, are less willing to take up the perspective of another person and less concerned about another’s well-being, and they tend to equate being better off with being better than others. Money makes people feel more deserving of success, he adds, and less needful of others. Piff is conducting a study of 50,000 adults to see how wealth influences social behavior.

Cops and scholars agree: immigration doesn't increase crime rates

May 2017

When police chiefs gather at their conferences to discuss the causes of crime, they talk about gangs, drug trafficking and even dysfunctional family homes, according to retired Anaheim Police Capt. Joe Vargas. They don't talk about immigration.

And that reflects the scholarly findings of Charis Kubrin, professor of criminology, law and society. Kubring has examined hundreds of studies and has found that immigrants are less crime-prone than the native-born population and that immigration to an area causes crime to go down, not up. Kubrin and Vargas both appeared on "Inside OC with Rick Reiff" to discuss immigration, crime and policing.

Nonprofit helping provide free and low-cost legal services to poor clients wins Blum Center pitch event

May 2017

Esqalate, an Orange County nonprofit, won the third annual Designing Solutions for Poverty Pitch Event hosted by the Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation. The nonprofit, founded by Chad Trainer, uses online services to connect experienced attorneys with the law school grads who can help them provide free and low cost legal services to poor people.

Perception of a moral partisan divide driven by partisan media

May 2017

Partisan factionalism has grown more severe recently, with Republicans and Democrats increasingly huddling in exclusive camps. Compared to decades past, people are more likely to be displeased if their children marry someone from the other party, and more likely to see members of the other party as selfish.

That animosity lingers. It's not like in sports, where the importance of team preferences goes away when the subject changes, Peter Ditto, professor of psychology and social behavior, told the Orange County Register. "In politics, people see it as a moral difference,” Ditto said. "And it’s fed by the media, and by people surrounding themselves with others who think the same way."

Social Ecology May 2017 E-Newsletter

May 2017

The May 2017 Social Ecology E-Newsletter has been published. Don't miss this issue's story on research by Associate Professor Nicholas Scurich about how death penalty juries could be tilting more in favor of capital punishment even as public opinion goes the opposite direction. Also, check out the latest report from Metropolitan Futures Initiative examining how access to everyday destinations like restaurants and grocery stories rises in older, denser neighborhoods in Southern California.

View the newsletter.

Social media makes collaborative investigations possible

May 2017

Self-described internet investigators can collaborate far easier in the age of social media, Chancellor's Professor Emeritus Dan Stokols told the Baltimore Sun.

Internet sleuths uncovered information about a Maryland couple who posted videos of their children to their YouTube channel "DaddyOFive." Some people found the behavior in the videos abusive.

"The internet is a kind of mechanism of finding like-minded others and coordinating with them. ... So now people might react to something on DaddyOFive or some other channel, they can find other people who have similar views and they team up and get engaged with it and motivated and they make it kind of project," he said.

Countering the false narrative of immigrant-driven crime

May 2017

Every time there's a highly-publicized story of a person in the U.S. illegally committing a crime, the common narrative of immigrant-driven crime grows stronger. But that narrative is false, Criminology, Law and Society Professor Charis Kubrin told the Desert Sun.

"I can’t even begin to tell you the level of frustration that I and my colleagues who do research in this area are feeling,” Kubrin said. “There are very few areas in our field where the findings are so consistent and the immigration-crime relationship is one of them.”

Wendy Goldberg awarded Dean's Honoree Award for School of Social Ecology

April 2017

Wendy Goldberg, associate dean for academic programs and professor in the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, was chosen as the Dean's Honoree Award for the School of Social Ecology.

Goldberg's research focuses on child development and the family context of children with autism and neurotypical children. She also studies work and family issues for young and middle-aged adults.

About 2,000 exonerations documented in registry hosted at UCI

May 2017

Roughly 2,000 people have been exonerated in the U.S. since 1989, as documented by the National Registry of Exonerations, which is hosted by the Newkirk Center for Science and Society at UCI's School of Social Ecology.

The Registry is compilation of all the known exonerations, and was recently mentioned in a Southern California Public Radio story about wrongful convictions.