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Social Sciences

illustration of girl writing math equations on chalkboard
Spring 2020

How to encourage a girl: Improving diversity in STEM

“Your daughter is obviously good at math,” the teacher says to the girl’s parents at a fourth-grade parent-teacher meeting.

The parents have noticed this, too, and suggest to the fourth grader that she study physics, astronomy, maybe engineering or another math-intensive field. As she gets older, she remains interested in all those things, but she’s also picking up messages that are telling her something quite different.

She and her family are avid Big Bang Theory fans. They’ve watched every episode. So even as her parents and teachers are saying, “You’re good at this!” and “Follow your passion!” she’s seeing portrayals of men in gendered professions, … » More …

Spring 2020

Cannabis in WA state

The legalization of recreational cannabis in Washington state and Colorado in 2012 opened a box full of questions and debates about the drug and its related crop, hemp.

What is the effect on youth? Will crime go up? How does cannabis interact with other drugs and medicines? What health claims are accurate? How does the potency of cannabis affect mental health? These gaps, and many others, in our knowledge—combined with unverified claims by both proponents and opponents of legalized cannabis—make it difficult to find the best ways to regulate and manage the substance.

To answer the call, almost 100 Washington State University researchers have begun … » More …

Grand Theft Auto 5 screenshot of man looking at two women in short skirts
Fall 2019

The evidence that video game violence leads to real-world aggression

A 2018 meta-analysis found that there is a small increase in real-world physical aggression among adolescents and pre-teens who play violent video games. Led by Jay Hull, a social psychologist at Dartmouth College, the study team pooled data from 24 previous studies in an attempt to avoid some of the problems that have made the question of a connection between gaming and aggression controversial.

Many previous studies, according to a story in Scientific American, have been criticized by “a small but vocal cadre of researchers [who] have argued much of the work implicating video games has serious flaws in that, among other things, it measures … » More …