Society and Culture Blog Posts

Q&A: Psychology Alum/Professor on the Importance of Undergraduate Research

June 06, 2019
Jonathan Helm got his first taste of psychology research during his second year as a UC Davis undergraduate. After earning three UC Davis psychology degrees, Helm is now an assistant professor of quantitative psychology at San Diego State University. He recently collaborated with one of his former UC Davis professors on a study that found growing up in impoverished urban neighborhoods more than doubles your chances of developing a psychosis-spectrum disorder by middle adulthood. We asked him some questions about his journey from student to faculty researcher:

Dalai Lama-backed Institute Honors Meditation Researcher Clifford Saron

May 20, 2019
The Mind & Life Institute, a nonprofit organization co-founded by the Dalai Lama, recently featured UC Davis neuroscientist Clifford Saron in a blog tribute. Saron, a research scientist at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain in the College of Letters and Science, studies the long-term effects of intensive meditation.

Journal Honors Psychologist Gregory Herek for Pioneering Work on Sexual Prejudice

May 16, 2019
Gregory Herek, professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology, devoted nearly 40 years to studying prejudice against sexual minorities, anti-gay violence and AIDS-related stigma. The "Journal of Homosexuality" recently commemorated the broad impacts of his research with a special issue, with articles on a range of new studies that build on Herek’s work.

History Professor Gregory Downs Featured in PBS Documentary

May 09, 2019
UC Davis historian Gregory Downs has added another medium to his multifaceted campaign to correct the record on Reconstruction — consulting on and appearing in Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s new documentary series "Reconstruction: America After the Civil War."

UC Davis Psychologist Receives Early Career Award for Research on Personality Change

May 07, 2019
Wiebke Bleidorn, an associate professor of psychology, was recently selected by the European Federation of Psychologists' Associations to receive its 2019 Comenius Early Career Psychologist Award. The award is given to a young psychologist from Europe for original contributions to psychology.

Read and Repeat: Can repetition and text enhancement improve language learning?

May 02, 2019
Does repeating a word in a text improve the comprehension and spelling of college students studying Spanish? How many repetitions is enough? How many is more than enough? Does making some words bold, italicized or underlined help with definitions and spelling? Those are some of the questions UC Davis Spanish professor Claudia Sanchez-Gutiérrez, graduate student Pablo Robles-García, and Mercedes Pérez-Serrano, a language professor in Spain, asked in a recent study.

Political Science Graduate Student Wins Audience Vote in Grad Slam

March 14, 2019
Nahrain Rasho, a doctoral candidate in political science who studies ethnic conflict and policies to reduce it, won People’s Choice and placed third Wednesday in the UC Davis Grad Slam. Rasho was the second College of Letters and Science finalist in two years to win the People’s Choice award in the annual research communication competition.

When International Security Alliances Fail

February 27, 2019
Two political scientists at UC Davis have been awarded a $1.37 million, three-year grant from the Department of Defense’s Minerva Research Initiative to study how countries share the burdens of security alliances like NATO.

Can Social Media Help Bridge Our Political Divide?

February 22, 2019
With the political divide growing wider and emotions running hotter, what can we do to help people to better understand each other and work together even when they don’t see eye to eye? Magdalena Wojcieszak, an associate professor of communication at UC Davis, is looking for answers.

What Gives a Word Its Meaning?

December 12, 2018
Dictionaries provide us with descriptions of word meanings, helping us to answer the question: “What does this word mean?” Adam Sennet, a professor of philosophy, seeks to answer a different question: “What gives this word or utterance meaning?”

Katia Vega: Creating the Interactive Body

November 26, 2018

Katia Vega, an assistant professor of design, is breaking ground in creating the “interactive body.” Her recent research has included bio-sensitive tattoos that give information about body chemistry, conductive makeup that allows one to turn lights on and off with the blink of an eye, and paying for purchases though microchips attached to fingernails.

“I’m interested in creating seamless technology; the goal is to make it indistinguishable from our body,” she says.

What Historians Could Teach Senators on the Judiciary Committee

November 16, 2018

by Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor and Lisa G. Materson

Hand-written notes on a teenager’s calendar. Remembered whispered confidences. Letters of support signed by wealthy acquaintances. Letters of non-support signed by wealthy lawyers. Therapist records. Rate My Professor scores. The recent Kavanaugh hearings, and the broader #MeToo movement in which it unfolded, were less a contest of he-said/she-said and more a battle over evidence.