Social & Behavioral Sciences

Ideal marriage partners drive Waorani warriors to war

Why do people go to war when the consequences of warfare are so dramatic? Scholars have suggested that the motivations for participating in war either lie in the individual rewards warriors receive (to the victor goes the spoils) or because group members coerce them to participate for fear of punishment. Understanding the factors that motivate […]


Human ancestors not to blame for ancient mammal extinctions in Africa

New research disputes a long-held view that our earliest tool-bearing ancestors contributed to the demise of large mammals in Africa over the last several million years. Instead, the researchers argue that long-term environmental change drove the extinctions, mainly in the form of grassland expansion likely caused by falling atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. Tyler Faith, […]


When you are unhappy in a relationship, why do you stay? The answer may surprise you.

Why do people stay in unsatisfying romantic relationships? A new study suggests it may be because they view leaving as bad for their partner. The study, being published in the November 2018 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, explored the possibility that people deciding whether to end a relationship consider not only their […]


Wildfire begets fire adaptation

As wildfires burn across the western United States, people are asking why does the West burn so frequently? Was it like this in the past? To piece together ancient landscapes, paleoecologists act like biological sleuths by digging through layers of sediment in search of clues. Traditionally, they analyzed pollen grains to infer what types of […]


Breastfeeding changes gene activity that may make babies less reactive to stress

Note: This release is adapted from a release prepared by Care New England. It has long been known that there are many physical and mental health benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and babies. But can these benefits be due to genetic changes induced by breastfeeding? New research suggests that connection. The research, published in the […]


When to Evacuate Residents During a Wildfire

When a wildfire breaks out and approaches a community, how do emergency managers decide when residents should evacuate? “Wildfire evacuation decision-making is challenging because the incident commanders need to take into account fire progression, population distribution and evacuation traffic,” explained Dapeng Li, an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at South Dakota State University. […]


University of Utah to establish new research data center

The University of Utah received National Science Foundation funding to create a Federal Statistical Research Data Center that will provide qualified researchers throughout the Intermountain West with access to a wide range of extensive restricted-use data collected by federal and state agencies. The vast store of newly accessible data in the Wasatch Front Research Data […]


Department of Sociology to lead new major in criminology

Students passionate about social justice will be able to pursue a criminology degree at the University of Utah beginning this fall. The College of Social and Behavioral Science, through the Department of Sociology, will offer a criminology major that will give students a multidisciplinary understanding of critical issues surrounding crime. The major will help prepare […]


Black + white = Not white: Understanding how multiracial individuals are categorized

How you perceive someone who is multiracial matters. Historically, the answer to that question for someone who was black-white multiracial had repercussions for who that person could marry, what school he or she could attend and other forms of discrimination the individual might experience. Today, the United States is becoming increasingly multiracial, but social psychologists […]


U professor Tariq Banuri to lead Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission

University of Utah Professor Tariq Banuri has been appointed chairman of Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission. Banuri moves into the role from his positions as an economics professor and associate director of the  U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies in Water at the U. He also serves on the executive committee of the U Water Center. The […]