Through research, teaching and community engagement, the School of Social Ecology focuses on science based solutions to social and environmental problems. Our work is organized into three research hubs. Click below to learn more.


The possibility of outrage over driverless cars

December 14, 2017

When a Mercedes-Benz official suggested last year that it would be better for a driverless car to save its driver even if that meant sacrificing multiple other people, the ensuing media coverage and public indignation quickly prompted the company to do damage control.

The episode highlighted some of the difficulties of gauging how the public will react to and accept driverless cars, Azim Shariff, assistant professor of psychology and social behavior, told Science Magazine.

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The need to foster emotional diversity in boys

December 12, 2017

Parents, research has found, encourage less diversity of emotions in boys than they do in girls, a trend that has far-reaching consequences into adulthood, writes Jessica Borelli, associate professor of psychology and social behavior, in an article for Scientific American.

"Boys grow up in a world inhabited by a narrower range of emotions, one in which their experiences of anger are noticed, inferred, and potentially even cultivated. This leaves other emotions — particularly the more vulnerable emotions — sorely ignored or missing in their growing minds," Borellli writes.

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Kids using smart phones can be good for them

December 12, 2017

Many parents worry that kids who spend hours upon hours on their phones are losing their ability to interact socially away from screens, and are missing out on activities that don't involve smart phones. But Candice Odgers, professor of psychology and social behavior, has done research showing some of the benefits smartphones bring to kids' lives.

"I don't think it's all a doom and gloom story," she told NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. "I think there are some really positive ways kids are using their phones to connect to people that they love and people who can support them in their lives."

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