Social Sciences

June 6, 2024

Coming home

Every time she returned to her home in White Swan, Nocona Abrams missed her community. So she decided to stay and make it even better.

May 31, 2024

Finding new horizons

Anu Taranath, author and teaching professor in the departments of English and Comparative History of Ideas, shares an eye-opening experience from her recent travels.

April 25, 2023

Signs of disability

Stephanie Kerschbaum explores how we notice, and sometimes don't notice, disability.

February 25, 2023

Helping youth in crisis

Schools are on the front lines of the mental health crisis. They need trained social workers and the resources to help kids who are suffering.

November 26, 2022

On the scene of change

In data and in the field, professor Briana Abrahms seeks ways for humans and wildlife to coexist as the climate changes.

Behind the data

When doctoral student Horacio Chacón Torrico looks at public-health data, he sees the ‘forgotten’ people he wants to help.

November 3, 2022

Tamara Lawson portrait

Tamara Lawson is the UW's new law dean

The UW’s new law dean wants to infuse social justice and civil rights throughout the law school curriculum.

September 9, 2022

Story of Black Seattle

Quintard Taylor tells the stories of Seattle’s small, but influential Black community.

May 29, 2022

Better sleep, better work

As the pandemic reshapes how, when and where Americans work, research at the UW suggests we might want to hang on to some of the flexibility we enjoyed over the past two years. 

March 5, 2022

Living through history

UW history professor Margaret O’Mara shares her perspective on the pandemic and its echoes from the past.

Mental-health advice

The pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of young people. A UW and Harvard University study found that adequate sleep, a daily routine and limited screen time could help.

February 14, 2022

Headshot of Cristobal Alex wearing a suit with the American flag in the background

The power of representation

An El Paso native's journey to UW leads to a key position as the White House Deputy Cabinet Secretary — and a piece of political power.

December 4, 2021

A damaged container of juice with a label reading "Sunny Diabetes, 100% bad choice for Vitamin C, 15 sugar cubes per serving"

Fruity, not healthy

Fruit drinks are often disguised as nutritious alternatives to soda. Researchers try to counter that narrative.

Wendy Barrington wears a dark blue shirt and clear glasses and rests her head on her chin while looking into the camera.

A call to action

Associate Professor Wendy Barrington, '12, brings a passion for health equity to her role as director of the Center for Anti-Racism and Community Health.

Jamar Beaver stands at a construction site, wearing a construction shirt and hat with safety goggles.

Legal relief

Longtime prisoners who received life and long sentences as minors benefit from a UW program that sends students and lawyers to help.

Illustration depicting a giant evil smartphone terrorizing Seattle.

Fighting the infodemic

Twisted facts, fake news and social media spoofs can turn society upside down. One UW team is working to help us through the infodemic.

May 11, 2021

Evictions continue

Washington landlords are finding ways around the pandemic-related moratoriums on evictions, and this is disproportionately affecting people of color.

December 16, 2020

Firearm study

The UW is researching handgun carrying among rural adolescents, in a three-year, $1.5 million study funded by the CDC.

September 16, 2020

Being there

For many older Americans, the rhythms of every day have not just changed during the COVID-19 pandemic; they have stopped.

June 25, 2020

Uneven evictions

Who gets evicted in Washington? It depends on gender and race, a UW study reveals.

May 4, 2020

Grant backs Indigenous vision

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation granted $1.8 million to the center to support students and research.

March 20, 2020

We need to talk about vehicle residency

Criminalizing a form of shelter causes undue and disproportionate harm to vulnerable people.

March 10, 2020

Under the influence

What effect does a parent's marijuana use have on kids? We asked a UW researcher.

December 3, 2019

Happy hints

Recommendations from social psychologist Tabitha Kirkland, whose research explores strategies that nurture our happiness.

November 24, 2019

Calling all dogs

A UW-led study is recruiting 10,000 canines and their companions for a study of dogs’ health as they age.

April 18, 2019

History keepers

Creating historical records, archiving photos, recording oral histories—it’s all in a program of UW Libraries with the Ethnic Heritage Council.

March 12, 2019


How UW research convinced our state's highest court to toss out the death penalty.

March 1, 2019

Natural elixir

Spending time outside is a sure-fire way to feel better. But researchers still don't know why that is.

November 30, 2018

Safe travels

Author and traveler Chris Sanford shares 10 bits of wisdom from his book, “Staying Healthy Abroad: A Global Traveler’s Guide.”

March 26, 2018

From playdough to Plato

Children are by nature philosophical thinkers—ready to take on heady topics like race, fairness and human rights.

March 4, 2018

The man who made us look

Psychology professor Anthony Greenwald developed the Implicit Association Test, a rapid-fire survey that reveals the biases that lurk inside us.

September 28, 2017

Understanding homelessness

"It's a symptom of a bigger disease of our society."

June 12, 2017

pound of flesh, alexes harris, fines and fees

Legal loop

Fees and fines are the punishment that keeps on giving in the criminal justice system.

May 25, 2017

microaggressions, john crowley


Overt racism has long been linked to health disparities, but what about subtle slights?

February 28, 2017

Kristy Leissle, daN BATES, chocolate uw, cocoa uw

Dr. Chocolate

UW Bothell lecturer Kristy Leissle is a leading researcher of the global cocoa trade.

June 1, 2016

Nordic Noir

Scandinavian Studies Professor Andy Nestingen shares his research into the genre and how it contrasts with American Noir’s heroes and villains.

December 1, 2015

'Scarface' found

A team of scientists has identified a new species of “pre-mammal” based on fossils unearthed in Zambia’s Luangwa Basin in 2009. Its discoverers include Christian Sidor, UW professor of biology and curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Burke Museum.

Sweet gratitude

Gratitude is universally considered a social good—the warm feeling that results from a kindness received. But it can have a dark side: It can impel us to eat more sweets, according to new research by Ann Schlosser, professor of marketing at the Foster School of Business.

September 1, 2015

Cellphone guilt

A new UW study finds that cellphone use at playgrounds is a significant source of parental guilt, as well as a powerful distraction when children try to get caregivers’ attention.

Space explorers

Fifty years is no time at all for a universe that dates back 13.8 billion. But for those who study the sky, the past five decades have changed everything.

June 1, 2015


Whether it’s coping with college or taming an addiction, mindfulness has real medical and practical benefits, and it’s something UW researchers have been exploring for decades.

A startling find

Since she was a student in pharmacy school, Shelly Gray has felt a strong connection to the situation many elderly patients find themselves in: “I was struck by how many different medications older adults are taking, as well as their struggle with trying to keep those medications straight,” she recalls.

March 1, 2015

Character: Janis Avery

Janis Avery has one mission in life: shoring up support for foster children so they can make the grade in school.

December 1, 2013

Distracted drivers

In Washington state’s first study to examine driver use of electronic devices, UW investigators saw that more than 8 percent of drivers were engaging with such devices behind the wheel, higher than previously estimated.

September 1, 2012

USDA report off base

If you fill your shopping cart with healthy foods, it will cost you less than if you purchased highly processed “junk” food full of high fat and sugar content, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says. Not so, says Adam Drewnowski, professor of epidemiology in the UW School of Public Health.

Tree-sized benefits

Professor James Lutz, UW research scientist in environmental and forest sciences, is the lead author of the largest quantitative study yet on the importance of big trees in temperate forests.

Champions for children

Under a new arrangement with the State of Washington, the UW School of Social Work will lead the first comprehensive statewide program to train social workers and caregivers who work with Washington’s vulnerable children and families.

June 1, 2012

Green light

More than 40 UW students from a variety of disciplines are building a car for the future as part of the EcoCAR 2 competition.

December 1, 2011

Tall order

Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, Earth and Space Sciences Professors Bernard Hallet and Howard Conway are trying to determine whether glaciers speed up or slow erosion in the Himalaya.

The market knows

The next time you hear the federal government announce that the gross domestic product has dropped, say, 3 percent, don’t believe it. Instead, look to the stock market.

More talk, less pot

A study shows that a brief, voluntary chat with an adult led to a 20 percent decrease in marijuana use for teens who are frequent users.

September 1, 2011

Boost for Head Start

Two UW College of Education researchers, both with previous classroom experience, are going to find out which teaching and learning practices are best for kids in Head Start.

June 1, 2011


Books such as "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" are part of a crime novel tradition dating back to at least 1965 in Scandinavia—a tradition Andrew Nestingen, associate professor of Scandinavian Studies, has followed for years.

Mother-child bonds

A Social Work doctoral candidate assembled a research panel of mothers, corrections officers and early childhood professionals—three groups that wanted a deeper understanding of the mother-child connection in prison..

March 1, 2011

Sink to Sound

Researchers are using a new method for collecting old-fashioned data: They are employing real people—citizen scientists—to study changes in the environment.

An eye on soldiers

The U.S. Department of Defense awarded a five-year grant to the University of Washington School of Social Work’s Innovative Programs Research Group to develop and test an intervention for at-risk soldiers.

Hope for polar bears

Scientists from several institutions, including the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Washington, have found that if humans reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly in the next 10-20 years, enough Arctic ice is likely to remain intact during late summer and early autumn for polar bears to survive.

Iceberg's tune

We love the enchanting songs of whales, the clicks and squeals from porpoises. And now, a University of Washington oceanographer has brought us more melodies from the deep.

September 1, 2010

Elephant vs. bird

Elephants may be the biggest factor in the impending disappearance of a tiny bird.

June 1, 2010

Greener roads

A UW team has helped develop the world’s first system to rate the sustainability of road construction and maintenance projects.

Aging dinosaurs

A new fossil find suggests that the roots of the dinosaurs’ family tree are deeper than previously thought.

March 1, 2010

Getting the dirt

In a barren pit on Vashon Island, UW School of Forest Resources graduate student Kate Kurtz is growing a forest—and fighting climate change along the way.

Lightning listener

Call him the lightning listener. Robert Holzworth, UW professor of earth and space sciences, directs the World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN), a series of stations around the globe that monitor pulses of radio waves generated by lightning strokes.

December 1, 2009

Tree power

Researchers at MIT discovered electrical currents in trees last year, and now a UW team has built an electronic circuit that runs on tree power.

September 1, 2009

Long look underseas

Seagliders, under development since 1995 at the UW’s School of Oceanography and Applied Physics Laboratory, have repeatedly set world endurance and range records for autonomous underwater vehicles.

June 1, 2009

Sweet spot

Parents may be able to chalk up their children’s preference for the tooth-achingly sweet to growing pains. That’s the possibility raised by new research led by UW Professor of Dental Public Health Sciences Susan Coldwell.

Rare fish find

When it comes to weird fish, Ted Pietsch, a UW professor of aquatic and fishery sciences and curator of fishes at the Burke Museum, has seen it all. But the creature discovered early last year off Ambon Island, in the Indonesian archipelago, surprised even him.

Feeling the heat

A study commissioned by the state Legislature is the most comprehensive look yet at how climate change is likely to affect the state.

Orca's best friend

The best way to gauge a whale’s health is to study its scat, and that requires a little Lab work.

March 1, 2009

Songbirds' secrets

UW Professor of Psychology and Zoology Michael Beecher wanted to understand the social dimensions of learning how and from whom birds learn to sing in the wild. So he and his students began tramping through the thickets of Seattle's Discovery Park to find out.

The healing arts

Last fall, the UW School of Medicine and the Henry Art Gallery teamed up to offer a new course to help medical students develop their diagnostic skills by visiting art museums.

December 1, 2008

Prevention works

Towns providing programs aimed at reducing juvenile delinquency are not only seeing results, but in less time than anticipated, according to a UW-led study.

September 1, 2008

Nature's calmer

When it comes to defeating stress, hi-def can’t hold a candle to the real thing, according to a study by the UW Human Interaction with Nature and Technological Systems Lab.

School of Robofish

UW researchers have put a new spin on the fin: they’ve made a robotic fish that can communicate with its schoolmates.

September 1, 2007

Woes of Kilimanjaro

UW researchers say global warming has nothing to do with the decline of Kilimanjaro’s ice, and using the mountain in northern Tanzania as a “poster child” for climate change is simply inaccurate.

June 1, 2007

Toddlers take a cue

For the first time, UW researchers have confirmed that toddlers engage in “emotional eavesdropping”—changing their own behavior in response to an emotional exchange that does not involve them.

Ocean blues

Since the Industrial Revolution, Earth’s oceans have swallowed nearly half of all fossil-fuel carbon emissions. Damage could be reaching the tipping point.

March 1, 2007

Immigrant mental health

Immigrants from Asia have lower rates of psychiatric disorders than American-born Asians and other native-born Americans, according to the first national epidemiological survey of Asian Americans in the United States.

September 1, 2006

Fighting the blues

Taking a page from Alcoholics Anonymous and similar groups, UW researchers successfully tested a brief, low-cost “intervention” to deal with depression.

March 1, 2006

Mating dance

Scientists have been able to link skillful dancing to established measures of human desirability and attractiveness.

June 1, 2004

'Success gap' fades

Throw out the old stereotype of the career woman with advanced degrees leading the life of a single. A new UW study finds that higher education is not the hindrance to marriage and motherhood it once was.

March 1, 2004

Income-weight link

Healthy foods that aid in weight loss and provide a feeling of fullness cost more than energy-dense foods such as French fries, soft drinks, candy and cookies. The result: poor people are more likely to be overweight.

September 1, 2003

Shooters' bias

A UW experiment using primarily white and Asian college students found that people were more likely to shoot blacks than whites, even when the men were holding a harmless object such as a flashlight rather than a gun.

December 1, 2000

Predicting divorce

Researchers studying the state of American marriages now can predict not only which couples will divorce but also when they will divorce.

March 1, 2000

High anxiety

A UW professor and doctoral student conducted a pioneering study of people who fly frequently for business.

December 1, 1998

Learning curves

UW research into learning disabilities—including new teaching tactics, genetic testing and brain imaging—may finally break some children's roadblocks to success.

Prejudice abounds

Prejudice affects 90 to 95 percent of the population, says a University of Washington psychologist who developed a new tool to measure the unconscious roots of prejudice.

March 1, 1998

Safer on streets?

Recent UW research shows life on the street may be an improvement over what many children face at home.

December 1, 1997

Land on the move

What today are rainy British Columbia and chilly southern Alaska were once the sunny climes of Baja California, according to UW Paleontologist Peter Ward.

September 1, 1997

Dollars shouldn’t define divorced dads, professor says

Social Work Professor Pauline Erera says that it's time to understand dads beyond the issue of dollars.

July 1, 1997

‘Imagination inflation’ makes childhood events seem real, study finds

The power of human imagination may be stronger than previously suspected, blurring the line between memory and imagination.

March 1, 1997

Subliminal messages can affect cognition, researchers show

UW psychologists say there is some evidence that subliminal messages can affect human cognition.

Crime rates are down; UW sociologists try to explain why

UW sociology professors say there are no easy answers to the mystery behind the falling crime rate.

June 1, 1996

The weaker sex? If there’s a disaster, it’s men

Women are better equipped than men to survive a long-term natural disaster, says a UW anthropology professor.

March 1, 1996

It’s time to try a new approach to fighting addictions, UW professor says

Harm reduction—which European countries have used for years—has edged onto the stage as an alternative solution to devastating social and health problems.

December 1, 1995

Failure hurts more to people with low self-esteem, research finds

According to some psychological theories, persons with high self-esteem should hurt more than those with low self-esteem because they aren't used to seeing themselves fail. In fact, the reverse is true, according to UW Psychology Professor Jonathon Brown.

June 1, 1995

‘Bad’ behavior studied

When it comes to raising children through what can be perilous years of early adolescence, mothers can be powerful if they just hang in there.

March 1, 1994

Clues to autism

First-birthday videos are helping UW researchers identify infants with autism two or three years earlier than previously possible.

December 1, 1993

He says, she says

Research on the links, if any, between gender and language has raised hackles on both sides of the gender line.

Most abuse remembered

Psychology Professor Elizabeth Loftus recently interviewed 105 women about their memories of childhood abuse.