blog posts Study: Brain mechanisms involved in learning also drive social conformity Dec 21, 2021 8:00 am2744 views Some of the same brain systems known to play a role in learning from trial and error also are engaged when people conform to social norms, scientists report in a new study. The findings are important, the researchers said, because changing one’s behavior to align with one’s peers can contribute to community-building or – depending on the goals and values of the group – societal breakdown. New book examines the evolution of academic freedom at the U of I Nov 29, 2021 1:45 pm1027 views A new book, "Dangerous Ideas on Campus: Sex, Conspiracy and Academic Freedom in the Age of JFK," explores how the prevailing moral values of the 1960s affected protections for scholars at the U. of I. Illinois schools sought to participate in 2022 Illinois Youth Survey Nov 17, 2021 7:00 am416 views Middle and high schools in Illinois are invited to participate in the 2022 Illinois Youth Survey, an online anonymous survey that assesses alcohol, drug and tobacco use among eighth, 10th and 12th grade students. Report: Extending child tax credit program offers many benefits for struggling families Nov 11, 2021 8:45 am527 views Expanding the child care tax credit beyond 2021 could have significant economic and other benefits for vulnerable families, according to a report by scholars with the Project for Middle Class Renewal. Task force calls for changes in juvenile detention policies for children ages 10-12 Nov 3, 2021 8:15 am642 views A report based on data from the Juvenile Monitoring Information System at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign sparked changes in one juvenile detention center's practices. Scientists look beyond the individual brain to study the collective mind Oct 21, 2021 11:30 am1253 views In a new paper, scientists suggest that efforts to understand human cognition should expand beyond the study of individual brains. They call on neuroscientists to incorporate evidence from social science disciplines to better understand how people think. Study reconstructs 232-year history of prairie fire in Midwestern US Oct 19, 2021 10:30 am3091 views Researchers combed through thousands of historical documents for first-person accounts of fires occurring between 1673 and 1905 in the Midwestern tallgrass prairie. Their study is the first systematic analysis of the timing, causes and consequences of prairie fires in this part of the world. Patients view perinatal depression screenings as ineffective, study finds Oct 13, 2021 9:00 am847 views A standardized protocol and patient-centered approach are needed to improve perinatal depression screenings so patients feel the screenings are useful and effective, a new study found. New book explores political secrecy among ordinary Americans in today's divisive culture Oct 6, 2021 9:45 am465 views U. of I. professsor of communication Emily Van Duyn examines political secrecy among ordinary Americans in the new book “Democracy Lives in Darkness: How and Why People Keep Their Politics a Secret." Media advisory: Kevin Leicht to testify before congressional subcommittee about disinformation Sep 27, 2021 11:45 am377 views Sociology professor Kevin Leicht to testify before congressional subcommittee about the effects of social media disinformation in fomenting distrust of scientists, particularly in regard to COVID-19 vaccines. Is the new Illinois state legislative district map fair? Aug 27, 2021 8:00 am1056 views The state legislative district map that was signed into law earlier this summer by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was based on population estimates rather than official U.S. Census data, rendering it vulnerable to legal challenges, said University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign political science professor Brian Gaines. Latinos' beliefs about social status may affect their cardiovascular health, study finds Aug 19, 2021 8:45 am570 views Subjective perceptions of their social status may have stronger effects on the cardiovascular health of Hispanics and Latinos in the U.S. than objective markers such as income, according to a new study led by Lissette Piedra. Illinois history professor examines Japan's relationships with its rivers Aug 18, 2021 9:15 am436 views History professor Roderick Wilson looks at how the interactions between rivers, society and government helped shape Japan’s modern transformation. New book contends that local newspapers bear brunt of news media's increasing elitism Jul 6, 2021 11:15 am1394 views A new book by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign journalism professor Nikki Usher examines the market failure of local newspapers in the context of larger U.S. problems such as rising social inequality, geographic polarization and political discord. In “News for the Rich, White, and Blue: How Place and Power Distort American Journalism,” Usher posits that newspapers are becoming more focused on serving wealthy, white and politically liberal news consumers. Where have all the entry-level professional jobs gone? Jul 1, 2021 8:15 am940 views Various economic and political forces are reducing job opportunities for new professionals and discouraging some entering these fields or staying in the U.S. after they earn their degrees, says sociology professor Kevin Leicht. Model helps predict, analyze decision-making on adopting Type 2 diabetes medical guidelines Jun 14, 2021 8:45 am931 views A new computational framework incorporates social interactions to analyze how best to communicate about new medical guidelines to encourage their adoption. What does the Chicago Tribune sale mean for the future of newsrooms? Jun 2, 2021 8:00 am1449 views As more newspapers are purchased by “vulture” hedge funds – highlighted by the recent acquisition of Tribune Publishing Co. by Alden Global Capital LLC – University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign journalism professor Brant Houston touts nonprofit news organizations as a viable alternative to traditional newspaper business models. Youths with diverse gender identities bullied up to three times more often than peers, study finds May 12, 2021 9:15 am1009 views Transgender youths are victimized as much as three times more often than students who identify as male or female, according to a study led by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign social work professor Rachel Garthe. Intoxication brings strangers physically closer, study finds May 10, 2021 2:00 pm911 views In a study with pandemic-related implications, researchers report that strangers who consume alcohol together may keep their distance initially – but draw physically closer as they become intoxicated. No previous studies have tested the effects of alcohol consumption on social distance, the researchers say. They report the new findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. People of color hardest hit by air pollution from nearly all sources Apr 28, 2021 1:00 pm992 views Various studies show that people of color are disproportionately exposed to air pollution in the United States. However, it was unclear whether this unequal exposure is due mainly to a few types of emission sources or whether the causes are more systemic. A new study that models peoples’ exposure to air pollution – resolved by race-ethnicity and income level – shows that exposure disparities among people of color and white people are driven by nearly all, rather than only a few, emission source types. Is it time to get rid of the filibuster in the US Senate? Apr 28, 2021 8:00 am668 views Although it’s been weakened over the years, the mere threat of a legislative filibuster in the U.S. Senate still provides swing-vote senators with a number of tactical advantages in the form of leverage, bargaining power and media attention, said U. of I. political science professor Gisela Sin. Geographies of death: Study maps COVID-19 health disparities in Greater Santiago Apr 27, 2021 9:00 am405 views People up to age 40 living in economically depressed municipalities in the Greater Santiago, Chile, metropolitan area were three times more likely to die as a result of the infection than their counterparts in wealthier areas, researchers report in the journal Science. COVID-19 mobility restrictions effective for short duration, study finds Apr 22, 2021 12:00 pm678 views Attempts at restricting people’s mobility to control the spread of COVID-19 may be effective only for a short period, researchers said. A new study examines people’s mobility for seven months during the pandemic in the United States using publicly available, anonymized mobile phone data. How are social media changing higher education? Apr 22, 2021 8:00 am1226 views Fear of reprisals from outraged parties on social media and unspoken rules about acceptable discourse on college campuses constrain what faculty members teach, research and discuss, says sociology professor Ilana Redstone. Social comparisons with similar people determine income's effect on happiness Apr 12, 2021 2:15 pm587 views It’s the ability to compare ourselves with people of similar backgrounds who earn more and others who earn less that determines our level of happiness in states that have high wealth inequality, U. of I. sociologist Tim Liao found. Young adults may provide care for older relatives much more frequently than thought Apr 12, 2021 9:30 am707 views Young adults and teens may provide care for adult relatives much more often than previously thought, according to a new study, though they worry about detriments to educational or career goals and would like more training and support. Partisan media sites may not sway opinions, but erode trust in mainstream press Mar 29, 2021 11:15 am700 views A study of 1,037 internet users during the 2018-19 U.S. midterm election found that partisan media don't change readers’ politics but can undermine their trust in the mainstream press. 'Hunker down' stress genes boosted in women who live in violent neighborhoods Mar 11, 2021 9:00 am1133 views The chronic stress of living in neighborhoods with high rates of violence and poverty alters gene activity in immune cells, according to a new study of low-income single Black mothers on the South Side of Chicago. The changes in stress-related gene expression reflect the body’s “hunker down” response to long-term threat. This has implications for health outcomes in communities of color and other marginalized populations, said researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and collaborators. Study compares discrimination claims of younger and older Americans with cancer Mar 10, 2021 8:00 am549 views Researchers assessed the employment discrimination claims made by younger and older American adults with cancer and found substantial differences in the nature – and outcomes – of their claims. Veterans see positive changes in emotional resilience after intervention Mar 8, 2021 11:00 pm481 views A six-week training program designed to strengthen resilience against emotional distress in military veterans was associated with positive changes in brain function and increased confidence in their ability to regulate emotions, researchers report. Mobile app helps young adults talk with friends about risky drug, alcohol use Mar 3, 2021 2:00 pm840 views A smartphone app called Harbor, created by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, teaches young adults how to talk to a peer if they are concerned about that other person’s drinking or drug use. Virtual reality program lessens physical side effects of hemodialysis Feb 24, 2021 12:00 pm1009 views A virtual reality program on mindfulness/meditation helped hemodialysis patients alleviate the physical side effects and tedium of their treatments in a new research project led by social work professor Rosalba Hernandez. Rediscovered journal brings unique perspective on Atlantic slave trade Feb 24, 2021 11:00 am812 views The trade that brought enslaved Africans to the New World was not just a story of slave ship captains and their human cargo. Many others were part of the machinery, among them a young German barber-surgeon who kept a journal. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign history professor Craig Koslofsky and co-author Roberto Zaugg of the University of Zurich translated his account and put it in context. Patient education program with mental health component reduces cardiovascular disease risks Feb 11, 2021 9:45 am544 views Participants in a health education program that included both mental and physical health information significantly reduced their risk factors for cardiovascular disease and maintained most of those improvements six months later. New history of photography focuses on presidents Feb 9, 2021 12:00 pm508 views From the advent of photography to the age of social media, U.S. presidents have been among the most common subjects for the camera. So what better way to tell a story of the medium’s evolution than through those historical figures. Cara Finnegan, a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign communication professor, does just that in “Photographic Presidents: Making History from Daguerreotype to Digital,” publishing this spring. Culture shapes willingness to share personal data to reduce COVID-19 spread Jan 27, 2021 8:00 am1080 views Culture, civic-mindedness and privacy concerns influence how willing people are to share personal location information to help stem the transmission of COVID-19 in their communities, a new study finds. Such sharing includes giving public health authorities access to their geographic information via data gathered from phone calls, mobile apps, credit card purchases, wristband trackers or other technologies. COVID-19 cases, deaths in U.S. increase with higher income inequality Jan 25, 2021 9:45 am1299 views U.S. counties with higher income inequality faced higher rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the earlier months of the pandemic, according to a new study led by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign sociology professor Tim Liao. Counties with higher proportions of Black or Hispanic residents also had higher rates, the study found, reinforcing earlier research showing the disparate effects of the virus on those communities. Paper: Underemployment pervasive for part-time workers in Illinois Jan 14, 2021 8:00 am2310 views As many as 61% of hourly workers in Illinois are underemployed, underscoring the need for the state to adopt a fair-workweek law, says Alison Dickson, a senior instructor in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Pollinators not getting the 'buzz' they need in news coverage Jan 13, 2021 8:45 am868 views A dramatic decline in bees and other pollinating insects presents a threat to the global food supply, yet it’s getting little attention in mainstream news, says a new University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign study. The research is based on a search of millions of news items in the university’s Global News Index, a unique database that draws from thousands of global news sources and decades of their publications. Study: Religion, psychology share methods for reducing distress Jan 8, 2021 9:00 am1885 views Religious people facing life crises rely on emotion-regulation strategies that psychologists also use, a new study finds. They look for positive ways of thinking about hardship, a practice known to psychologists as “cognitive reappraisal.” They also tend to have confidence in their ability to cope with difficulty, a trait called “coping self-efficacy.” Both have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Projects explore role of social-emotional learning in healing racial wounds Jan 5, 2021 2:30 pm1391 views U. of I. scholars are coordinating online parenting seminars and activities for students and staff members at two Illinois school systems that will explore the role of social and emotional learning in healing racial wounds. Efforts to combat COVID-19 perceived as morally right Dec 14, 2020 8:30 am856 views According to new research, people tend to moralize COVID-19-control efforts and are more willing to endorse human costs emerging from COVID-19-related restrictions than to accept costs resulting from other restraints meant to prevent injury or death. The level of support – and resulting outrage in response to perceived violations of this moral ideal – differs between liberals and conservatives. Study adapting HIV/AIDS behavioral interventions to mitigate COVID-19 Dec 8, 2020 9:45 am812 views A research project funded by the National Institutes of Health is exploring whether interventions effective at engaging high-risk populations in HIV/AIDS testing and treatment can be adapted to mitigate COVID-19. Projects offer COVID-19 testing, explore virus transmission's social factors Dec 2, 2020 9:45 am1388 views U. of I. researchers, local clinicians and volunteers are providing pop-up COVID-19 testing clinics in Rantoul, Illinois, to essential workers and other high-risk residents, and are exploring the behavioral factors behind infection clusters. Cocoa flavanols boost brain oxygenation, cognition in healthy adults Nov 24, 2020 4:00 am5599 views The brains of healthy adults recovered faster from a mild vascular challenge and performed better on complex tests if the participants consumed cocoa flavanols beforehand, researchers report. Today's catastrophic concerns shaped by past interactions between science, culture Nov 19, 2020 12:15 pm590 views A global pandemic, wildfires and hurricanes have made 2020 a year of catastrophes. David Sepkoski’s new book “Catastrophic Thinking” looks at how current-day concerns about threats to both the planet and the human race came to be. Sepkoski is a history professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, specializing in the history of science. Disaster apps share personal data in violation of their privacy policies Nov 16, 2020 8:45 am447 views Information sciences professor Madelyn Sanfilippo examined popular disaster apps and found that many of them provide personal information – including a user’s location – to third parties long after a disaster has passed. Should we rethink assumptions about the 2020 election? Nov 12, 2020 12:15 pm794 views The polls prior to Election Day and other circumstances suggested to many that the presidential results would be different than they were. We may want to question some assumptions about state-level voting predictions and the role of the pandemic, says Scott Althaus, a professor of both political science and communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Corporations directing our attention online more than we realize Oct 29, 2020 10:15 am1007 views We don’t have the control we think we do in browsing the internet. Our notion of empowerment to see and find what we choose is “an illusion,” say the authors of a study – including Illinois media professor Harsh Taneja – that analyzed browsing data on a million people over one month of internet use. Corporations are “nudging” the flow of our online attention more than we realize, and often in ways that are hidden or beyond our control. Distracted learning a big problem, golden opportunity for educators, students Oct 13, 2020 11:00 am2089 views Experts say media multitasking negatively impacts learning, but many students believe they're immune to these effects because they're good multitaskers, according to a review paper by U. of I. professor Shelly J. Schmidt.