UC's Blum Federation to tackle global poverty

February 2016

The Blum Federation is a combination of 10 individual Blum Centers and initiatives from across the UC System to enhance teaching and research on global poverty, economic and social justice, and democracy. The federation was launched with $1.32 million in seed funding from the UC Office of the President. Richard Matthew, Professor of Planning, Policy, and Design, is the faculty director of the Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation at UCI.

UCI will host a conference in May that focuses on global food security and climate issues. "This will be the first convening of the Blum Centers as a federation,” states Matthew. “We are excited to explore how our interdisciplinary expertise can advance issues of food security and climate action, which are at the core of large-scale efforts to deal with poverty."

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New Masters of Legal and Forensic Psychology Program

February 2016

UCI is launching a new online Masters of Legal and Forensic Psychology program to begin Fall 2016. This program will focus on the intersection of psychology and legal issues, with a greater emphasis on the use of psychological principles, theories, and research to better understand legal processes and systems. Please visit our website for additional information.

The goal of this degree program is to prepare practitioners for career advancement in legal and related fields, thus the program seeks applicants from a wide variety of educational backgrounds and work experiences. Individuals who meet the following requirements are encouraged to apply:

How wealth influences social behavior

January 2016

Paul Piff, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior, was interviewed by Caitlin Esch as part of the Marketplace series, Brain Drain. Research has found that wealthier people are more likely to cheat to win a prize and poorer people are more helpful, generous and trusting of others. Piff studies how the economic class influences behavior and personality.

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Lynch quoted in Tampa Bay Times

January 2016

Mona Lynch, Professor of Criminology, Law and Society, was quoted in Tampa Bay Times article "Supreme Court Decision likely to lead to fewer death penalty verdicts, experts say." As the result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, juries in Florida are now required to decide whether to impose the death penalty. Florida is currently the home to the second-largest death row in the nation. Lynch, who has studied how juries reach decisions in capital cases, said that in states like Florida and Alabama where juries give advisory verdicts, there tends to be a "diffusion of responsibility." Aware that a judge might override them, jurors often feel less pressure, making it easier for them to sentence the inmate in front of them to death."Right now, Florida juries can feel like, well, we're just making a recommendation," she said.

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Justice for Kids

January 2016

Superior Court Judge Maria Hernandez '86 is the presiding judge in juvenile court in Orange County. Growing up in Fallbrook, her parents instilled in her a strong work ethic and her dad is still, to this day, her hero. She works to keep troubled juveniles from succombing to lives of crime. The youth that Judge Hernandez sees on a daily basis typically do not have the positive role models that she had growing up and many have been in and out of foster homes, some even lack the basic life necessities, such as food and shelter.

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Photo credit: Steve Zylius/UCI

Cole quoted about juries

January 2016

Simon Cole, Professor of Criminology, Law and Society, was quoted on Vulture.com, "From the CSI Effect to Making a Murderer: Will True- Crime Docuseries Change How Jurors Think?" Cole states " Everything we know about juries seems to suggest that, while being on a jury is often unpleasant, they take it very seriously and are making serious decisions about whether to find someone guilty or not guilty in a criminal case. It’s a hard argument to make that they’re going to make a different decision based on what’s gotten in their head from television.”

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Ditto quoted in Orange County Register

January 2016

Peter Ditto, Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior, was quoted in the Orange County Register's article, "Orange County's famously conservative activism is alive but faces a turning point." Even though people have left the Republican Party and the GOP voter registration has experienced a decline in Orange County, they still have an active presence and are rallying and organizing events. There are sub-groups within the party, including the Central Committee, who have clashed with the establishment Republicans. “When groups self-segregate, it leads to extremization,” said Ditto. “People are more apt to go to that point of view when they are surrounded by like people. It kind of gives you license to become more extreme.”

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Traditional media still an important source of information

January 2016

Social media has been praised as the future for disaster management and risk communication, but is traditional media obsolete? New research by FloodRise Co-Principal Investigator David Feldman, Chair and Professor of Planning, Policy, and Design, and Social Ecology doctoral student Santina Contreras, suggests that traditional media is still an important source on hazards like flooding, particularly among older populations. In the March 2016 issue of the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, the researchers share findings from the FloodRise Newport Beach household survey, which shows that age is a key factor in individual preference for methods of receiving flood risk information. The older population tends to prefer to receive hazard information from traditional media sources (television, radio, the internet) while the younger population tends to look to social media for hazard information (Facebook and Twitter).

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UC Irvine hip-hop professor seeks poetic justice

January 2016

Charis Kubrin, Professor of Criminology, Law and Society, not only studies rap music, she is a fan of rap music. One of her favorites is The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Life After Death." Kubrin studies how rap music is perceived by society and how a defendant's rap lyrics can be used as evidence against him in a criminal trial. Kubrin says rap lyrics are stereotyped as violent, dangerous and threatening, while lyrics in other genres of music are viewed as artistic expression. The stereotype exists in courtrooms across the country, where prosecutors unfairly use rap lyrics as incriminating evidence against defendants, she says. “Rap is another form of artistic expression, but rather than treating the lyrics as art and poetry, it’s taken as literal and true,” Kubrin says. “No other form of artistic expression has been treated by the courts this way."

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Kubrin and others enlist rappers for U.S. Supreme Court Brief

December 2015

In what may be the first amicus brief signed by prominent rap artists, Charis Kubrin, Professor of Criminology, Law and Society, and two hip-hop scholars have enlisted Killer Mike, T.I. and Big Boi, among others, in a request to have the U.S. Supreme Court hear a First Amendment case involving violent lyrics penned by a high school student in Mississippi. “No other form of artistic expression has been treated by the courts like rap music,” said Kubrin, who has written extensively and testified in criminal cases about stereotypes associated with hip-hop lyrics.

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