Social & Behavioral Sciences

U develops first dark sky studies minor in the U.S.

The W. M. Keck Foundation has awarded $250,000 to the University of Utah to establish a new undergraduate minor in dark sky studies, the first of its kind in the United States. Dark sky studies is an emerging field that explores the impacts of artificial light at night and the loss of our night skies […]


Longevity primarily hereditary in extremely long-living families

Longevity is heritable, but that primarily applies to persons from families where multiple members are among the top 10 percent survivors of their birth cohort. The key to a long life can probably be found in the genes of these families. These are the conclusions of researchers at Leiden University Medical Center, together with their […]


Make alternative transit time count

In a valley notorious for gunky air, how do you weave transit, biking, carpooling and other air-saving measures into residents’ everyday lives? One approach is a challenge like the Salt Lake Chamber’s Clear the Air Challenge, with some participating teams offering incentives and prizes to encourage trip-saving behavior. But how do you sustain people’s use […]


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 […]