MAS Best Online Program for Veterans

May 2015

The Master of Advanced Study (MAS) in Criminology, Law and Society has been named the best online graduate criminal justice program for U.S. veterans and active-duty service members by U.S. News and World Report. The MAS degree program was created in 2002 and it was the first online degree program in the University of California system. George Tita, Professor of Criminology, Law and Society, and Teresa Dalton, Lecturer, co-direct the program.

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Researchers study awe and find it is good for relationships

May 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.

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What Does 'Middle Class' even mean?

May 2015

Paul Piff, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior, was quoted in The Atlantic  regarding the middle class in America and how more people consider themselves in the working or lower class. A recent Gallup poll found that about 51 percent of Americans consider themselves in the middle or upper-middle class, while 48 percent consider themselves working or lower class. The results are not surprising according to Piff. “When inequality is severe the relative differences between you and other people become severe,” he says. “I think that with the rise in inequality post-recession, differences in where you think you are relative to others have been exacerbated as well.”

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Baltimore Police shooting that wasn't 'Illustrates Malleable Nature of Memories'

May 2015

Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor of Social Ecology, was interviewed by NPR's Robert Siegel about false reports that were made on May 4th, 2015 that a man was shot by Baltimore Police. No one was shot but there were people who could describe what had happened, even though it did not happen. Loftus states that "One of the things that might've happened in this case is that people got little bits and pieces of information - maybe they saw a man or maybe they saw a gun or maybe they heard a noise. And they draw inferences about what might've happened, what could've happened, what they think possibly happened. And those inferences can act like suggestion and can distort your memory. So in some sense, these individuals, assuming they're not deliberately lying, could actually have created these false memories."

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The Shaky Moral Compass of Silicon Valley

May 2015

Paul Piff, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior, was quoted in the New York Times in an article on the people that live and work in Silicon Valley and their lack of compassion for the homeless population. He believes "all the money sloshing around in the Valley could make some of the tech executives unaware of their surroundings." Piff's research consistently shows that when people gain access to money, their empathy toward the less fortunate falls and, at the same time, their sense of entitlement and self-interest increases.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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