National conference opens flow of ideas on drought

April 2015

Top researchers, public officials and policymakers came together at the Beckman Center to discuss the impacts of California's drought and possible ways to manage water shortages. Water UCI  was a sponsor of the three-day conference and David Feldman, Chair and Professor of Planning, Policy, and Design, is the director of Water UCI. The Water UCI Initiative aims to unite disciplines across campus to develop a highly integrated research, education, and outreach presence around water science, management, and policy issues.

Read Article

 

Study reveals neural science behind great leaders

March 2015

Great leaders are often great communicators. However, little is known about the neural basis of leader-follower communication. Chuansheng Chen, UCI Chancellor’s Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior, is co-author of a new study exploring interpersonal neural synchronization between leaders and followers during social interactions. Chen and his colleagues found that INS was significantly higher between leaders and followers than between followers and followers, suggesting that leaders emerge by synchronizing their brain activity with that of followers. The quality of communication, rather than the frequency, makes a significant contribution to the increase of INS. Researchers found that high-quality communication tends to involve the ability to read social situations and alter one’s behavior to fit in and act appropriately. It’s likely that people with the ability to say the right things at the right time emerge as leaders. The study appears in the early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read Study

Happiness gap may favor liberals

March 2015

Peter Ditto, Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior, and Sean Wojcik and Arpine Hovasapian, doctoral candidates in Psychology and Social Behavior, found that although conservatives may report greater happiness than liberals, they are no more likely to act in ways that indicate that they are indeed happier. "If it is real happiness, it should show up in people's behavior," states Ditto. "What our evidence suggests is that it's limited to self reports of subjective well-being."

Learn More:

Researchers study awe and find it is good for relationships

February 2015

Paul Piff, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal regarding his research on the emotion of awe. Awe may make people more empathetic, trusting, generous, and humble. Awe takes us out of our own heads and "minimizes our individual identity and attunes us to things bigger than ourselves," states Piff.

Read Article

 

 

 

 

Prop. 47's effect on jail time, drug rehabilitation is mixed so far

February 2015

Elliott Currie, Professor of Criminology, Law and Society, was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article regarding Proposition 47, a law that was passed in November, downgrading drug possession and minor thefts to misdemeanors. The idea behind the proposition was to reduce incarceration times for nonviolent offenders and focus on rehabilitation, with a plan to ease jail overcrowding. Currie states "that the key to the law's success will be whether the cost savings are indeed spent on drug treatment." "If it is not going to do that, then we are not going to see any change for the better, and we'll see people out there floundering more than they already are."

Read Article

 

What if we lost the sky?

February 2015

Researchers are looking into reversing climate change by reflecting sunlight away from earth. This process could change the appearance of the sky and could affect our physical health and how we view ourself. In particular, losing the night sky could affect the emotion of awe since a major source of awe is the natural world. Paul Piff, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior, says that when he studied awe among the Himba in Namibia, “the night sky was one of the very clear elicitors” of the emotion. The sky “has this really important role, obviously, in all sorts of different historical ways for the development of humankind and human consciousness, but it also has this shared feature of, no matter where you are and where you come from, it seems to brings about this really, really amazing and transformative experience.”

Read Article

 

Class differences

February 2015

Paul Piff, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior, begins his "psychology of inequality" courses by asking students about their consumer habits: Do they shop at J.C. Penney or Neiman Marcus? What kind of car do they drive, if they drive at all? What is their preferred breakfast, a fruit smoothie from Starbucks or a donut from Dunkin' Donuts?  "As people reconstruct their days, it's clear that in every decision they make, class is an essential feature," states Piff.

Read Article

 

Learning to end homelessness

February 2015

Project Hope Alliance has partnered with UCI to track the academic and quality of life markers for 320 Orange County homeless students to learn why some excel and others fail. Jennifer Friend is the CEO of Project Hope Alliance and a Social Ecology '95 alumna. Project Hope Alliance is a 25-year-old nonprofit located in Costa Mesa and a Field Study site for Social Ecology students.

Read Article

Was Brian Williams a victim of false memory?

February 2015

Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor of Social Ecology, and Steven Frenda, UCI alumnus, were quoted in New York Times Well blog regarding NBS Nightly News anchor Brian Williams' changing his 2003 story from being in a helicopter that was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade to being in a helicopter that was right behind the one that was hit. Williams was called a liar and has since been suspended for 6 months without pay. Loftus states “You’ve got all these people saying the guy’s a liar and convicting him of deliberate deception without considering an alternative hypothesis — that he developed a false memory." Frenda has found that false memories "can arise when we mistakenly attribute some other information as a memory. Whether you have exaggerated something in the past, or it's something else that you've seen or experienced, you can pull that into what you consider to be the truth."

Learn More:

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - News