Society and Culture Blog Posts

Faculty Member Examining Art on Borders as Part of Multicampus Latinx Project

As part of a $1.8 million award from the UC Office of the President, Assistant Professor of Chicana/o Studies Ofelia Ortiz Cuevas will examine how artists around the world have created public protest art. She plans to bring artists from Cuba, Vietnam, the Middle East, Africa and other places together for a symposium, create a graphic publication and organize an exhibition of their work.

Podcast Debut Focuses on Conspiracy Theories

On the first episode of "The Backdrop," a UC Davis podcast exploring the world of ideas, historian Kathryn Olmsted discusses her work studying the history and impact of conspiracy theories on American society and politics. She also offers advice on how people can avoid falling prey to them.

'Women Also Know Stuff' Recognized Nationwide in Fight Against Political Science Gender Bias

When UC Davis political scientist Amber Boydstun co-founded the Women Also Know Stuff initiative in 2016, the idea went beyond amplifying the voices of her female colleagues around the world. A primary goal was to improve political science. In a major nod to the project’s success so far, the American Political Science Association recently awarded Boydstun and 11 colleagues a $25,000 grant to broaden the impact of its searchable online database of female political scientists.

Real Memory or Alternate Reality?

Aaron French, a doctoral student in religious studies, recently wrote a piece for The Conversation about "The Mandela Effect," the collective misremembering of common events or details, and a recent movie that gave the phenomenon widespread attention. He writes here about how the effect is connected to studies, research and writing.

What Gamers and Redditors Can Teach Us About Democracy

Despite the ongoing threat of misinformation spreading online, UC Davis cognitive scientist Seth Frey still believes in the promise of the internet as a force for political and economic empowerment. The National Science Foundation recently awarded Frey and colleagues at three other universities a $460,000 grant to study how groups create and enforce self-rule in a wide array of domains, including Frey’s focus: Reddit forums (called subreddits) and video games.

How Flu Vaccine Misinformation Spreads Online

Social media are a powerful tool to spread information — and misinformation — about health issues such as vaccines and cancer prevention. How does bad information spread online, and what is the best way to stop it? That is a topic being studied by Assistant Professor Jingwen Zhang and her students in the UC Davis Department of Communication.

How Groups Make Up Their Minds

The choices we make in large group settings, such as in online forums and social media, might seem fairly automatic. But our decision-making process is more complicated than we know. So, researchers at the University of Washington and UC Davis have been working to understand what’s behind that seemingly intuitive process. The research has discovered that in large groups of essentially anonymous members, people make choices based on a model of the “mind of the group” and an evolving simulation of how a choice will affect that theorized mind.

How Do You Bounce Back After a Setback?

Why are people often only fleetingly happy about positive events, but persistently upset about negative events like setbacks? Alison Ledgerwood, behavioral scientist, professor of psychology and chancellor’s fellow at UC Davis, has conducted extensive research to understand this.