Social Science in the News

This page has links to social science research which has made the headlines.

The rise of fake news has dominated the world of politics since the last U.S. election cycle.

But fake news is not at all new in the world of science, notes University of Wisconsin-Madison Life Sciences Communication Professor Dominique Brossard.

Read More (EurekAlert!)

Country rankings in international education tests – such as PISA and TIMSS – are often used to compare and contrast education systems across a range of countries.

But it isn’t always an even playing field.

Read More (The Conversation)

Deadly viruses that cause panic and epidemics are becoming more common because of deforestation the depletion of natural habitats for wild animals.

The deadly viruses themselves aren't increasing, it’s their exposure to humans that has increased. As humans trek further into the forests and environments where viruses like Ebola, Zika, and HIV are common among bats, rodents, and other animals, the higher the chances are that those viruses will make the jump to infecting humans, according to NPR.

Read More (International Business Tribune)

It may seem that new relationships are entirely fuelled by dreams and hopes for a perfect future. But the past can have a powerful influence too – often more so than we would like to admit.

The “emotional baggage” that we bring from the past can mean that we sometimes pick a partner who’s not quite right, make bad relationship decisions or find it difficult to fully devote ourselves to the person we are with.

Read More (The Conversation)

In early February, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he would not be making any changes to Canada’s electoral rules.

This might be a non-story, if Trudeau and his supporters hadn’t pledged 1,813 times to reform the system, according to an opposition party’s count.

Read More (Washington Post)

Last week the NHS released its latest monthly statistics on the number of patients facing delays in their transfers to care services. They make for grim reading.

They show that higher demand for adult social care and pressure on local authority social care budgets is seriously affecting NHS performance, and threatens the overall sustainability of the health and social care systems.

Read More (Public Finance)

A 2014 Pew Research Center study also indicates that a majority of people in all of the forty-four countries polled described the gap between rich and poor as a problem for their country.

Economic inequalities in income and wealth, social inequalities in health, education and access to welfare services, gender and racial inequalities, cultural and religious discrimination, barriers to political participation --- all are main instances of inequalities.

Read More (The Financial Express)

In today's digital age, they are relied upon by many people looking to find the best buy. But internet reviews can be wildly misleading, a study has found, because they are usually created by people who exaggerate how good a product is.

Psychologist Dr Mícheál de Barra looked at more than 1,600 online reviews of health products on website Amazon, then compared them with the scientific results of clinical trials.

Read More (The Daily Mail)

To determine if new vaccines are effective, researchers often closely monitor trends in disease rates for a city or community. However, these observations can be confounded by changes in the health or behavior of the population, so a better “control” comparison is needed.

One social science comparison technique called “the synthetic control method” presents a unique way to address this problem: combine the information from several possible control communities to create a superior aggregated control built from many possible controls.

Read More (Ars Technica)

Research has shown that students' learning and cognitive performance can be influenced by emotional reactions to learning, like enjoyment, anxiety, and boredom. Most studies on this topic have been done in labs.

Now a new longitudinal study out of Germany investigates how students' emotions in a school context relate to their achievement.

Read More (Phys.org)

At an EU summit in Malta on February 3, Theresa May announced Britain would help support the resettlement of refugees who arrive in Europe to Latin America and Asia.

Yet while it has been presented as a humanitarian endeavour, the plan preserves relationships of exploitation and inequality between countries.

Read More (The Conversation)

The level of tax in Britain has reached the highest level as proportion of national income for 30 years, a respected think tank has found.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that taxes are on course to rise by £17billion over the course of this Parliament, taking that the proportion of national income raised in taxes to 37 per cent for the first time since 1986.

Read More (The Telegraph)

A legally regulated cannabis market would result in more effective strategies aimed at helping drug users to access the right support and guidance, say researchers at the University of York.

In a new report published by the drug policy think tank, Volteface, the team, which included researchers at the University of Bournemouth, demonstrated that there is a disparity in how cannabis is prioritised by drug and alcohol providers, wider community services, local authority commissioners, and public health bodies, which has impeded the quality of support and guidance available.

Read More (University of York)

If you want to win an Oscar it is best to be an American actor in a film that portrays American culture.

That is the conclusion of a paper published today, Sunday 5 February, in the British Journal of Psychology by Dr Niklas K. Steffens from the School of Psychology at The University of Queensland and his fellow authors.

Read More (Science Daily)

Employees working more than 39 hours a week are putting their health at risk, according to new research by The Australian National University.

This is a problem because about two in three Australians in full-time employment work more than 40 hours a week, according to lead researcher Dr Huong Dinh from the ANU Research School of Population Health.

Read More (HC Online)

Ancient DNA analyses show that – unlike elsewhere in Europe – farmers from the Near East did not overtake hunter-gatherer populations in the Baltic.

The findings also suggest that the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family originated in the Steppe grasslands of the East.

Read More (University of Cambridge)

The use of body cameras by front line police and other uniformed enforcement agencies is increasing at an unstoppable rate both in the US and UK.

In the UK, video cameras have been seen primarily as a way of supporting police officers to better enforce order or collect evidence.

Read More (The Conversation)

It is a utopian idea, literally, but is enjoying a renaissance as politicians and policy wonks grapple with technology-driven changes that could redefine our very understanding of work.

If robots and machine intelligence threaten to render many white-collar jobs obsolete, then what will people do for money?

Read More (Phys.org)

Where people die is often important to them and their families, as well as being important for planning health care services.

Most people want to die at home, but most die in hospital.

Read More (King's College London)

Scientists continue to surprise us with amazing discoveries, and billions of people around the world have been lifted out of poverty.

But dark clouds have formed on the horizon.

Read More (Project Syndicate)

The Government’s new industrial strategy focuses on STEM. This is welcome – we need knowledge and skills in this are.

But we cannot continue to see growth and productivity in the UK as fuelled by science and technology alone.

Read More (iNews)

After decades of picking up towels and washing dishes, many women might not believe it.

But men in Britain now think that both sexes should split the housework down the middle, scientists have found.

Read More (The Daily Mail)

Does taking your husband's last name mean you're "more committed" as a wife? Depending on who you talk to, the answer may be yes.

That's the interesting result of a new study out of Portland State University, which assessed the responses of 1,243 adults to a survey about women, marital roles, and relationships.

Read More (Bustle)

The article is about the importance of large birth cohorts, such as MoBa.

Both the US and Britain have tried to launch similar birth cohorts, but have not succeeded. There are several reasons for this, both economical and practical.

Read More (Norwegian Institute of Public Health)

Religious education is key to community cohesion finds new research following a survey of nearly 12,000 13- to 15-year-old students attending schools across the United Kingdom.

The project on "Young People's Attitudes to Religious Diversity", carried out by the Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit (WRERU) at the University of Warwick, addressed two main questions:

Read More (Phys.org)

Social science research demonstrates that militant groups with a consistent revenue stream are better equipped to facilitate and sustain rebellions. Illicit trade in diamonds, narcotics and timber, for example, provides rebel leaders with funds to assemble fighting forces capable of confronting the government.

Rebel movements located far from state power centers or concealed within impenetrable terrain are particularly difficult to suppress.

Read More (The Washington Post)

The Supreme Court has ruled by a majority of eight to three that an Act of Parliament is necessary to trigger Article 50 and the formal Brexit process, and this judicial disagreement reflects the highly technical and complex nature of the issues at stake.

Both the majority and dissenting voices have been keen to stress that legal principles were their sole concern, and that there was no political dimension to the views expressed.

Read More (University of Manchester)

As convenient shorthand for a brand of politics that has stolen the headlines, ‘populism’ has been used by academics and journalists to describe a host of movements and their leaders at different times and in different parts of the world that appear, at first glance, to have little in common.

Despite its wide usage in politics, the term remains ill-defined. This is partly because populism is chameleon-like; it changes its appearance depending on what (or whom) it is attached to.

Read More (University of Cambridge)

Since the early 2000s, a growing movement of social science researchers have been pushing policy-makers to do “impact evaluations” of their programs.

That’s a phrase used in the world of aid that means checking whether your program is achieving its ultimate objective — say raising incomes or reducing disease.

Read More (OPB)

President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on saving American jobs and, since the election, has targeted automakers on Twitter, urging them to keep production domestic or face steep border taxes.

But there’s one force he cannot shame into compliance: the market.

Read More (The Washington Post)

Researchers have written computer programs that found patterns among anonymized data about web traffic and used those patterns to identify individual users.

The researchers note web users with active social media are vulnerable to the attack.

Read More (Science Daily)

In theory, statistics should help settle arguments. They ought to provide stable reference points that everyone – no matter what their politics – can agree on.

Yet in recent years, divergent levels of trust in statistics has become one of the key schisms that have opened up in western liberal democracies.

Read More (The Guardian)

Some social scientists, including us, will tell you that they thought Donald Trump could win the US presidential election. But few expected he really would.

And within sociology – the academic circle we most often navigate – scholars certainly did not prepare for a Trump victory.

Read More (Times Higher Education)

Psychologists from The University of Manchester have shown how difficult it is for us to guess the true intention of each other’s behaviour.

The study, published today in Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, has important implications on public policies designed to impact on areas such as smoking, obesity, eating disorders, self-harm, alcohol use and gambling.

Read More (University of Manchester)

In recent years, behavioral science has become a voguish field.

In 2002, the Israeli psychologist Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work with a colleague, Amos Tversky, exploring the peculiarities of human decision-making in the face of uncertainty.

Read More (The New Yorker)

Like some of its rich-world peers, Britain has entered the age of the aged.

A report by the Resolution Foundation think-tank reveals that almost a third of people born today can expect to live to 100.

Read More (The Guardian)

California Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D) introduced a bill Wednesday that would require the state to establish curriculum standards and frameworks to teach “civic online reasoning” to middle- and high-schoolers.

The intention is to help give youngsters “the ability to judge the credibility and quality of information found on Internet Web sites, including social media,” the bill states.

Read More (Washington Post)

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for a maximum wage for Britian’s highest earners, an ostensibly draconian measure necessary to stop the UK becoming a grossly unequal, bargain basement economy.

The suggestion was met by a deluge of outrage and disapproval, being described in turn as “idiotic”, “lunatic” and “incoherent” – and that’s from within his own party.

Read More (Irish Times)

The future of higher education is back in the spotlight as the controversial Higher Education and Research Bill enters the next stage of scrutiny in the House of Lords this week.

The Bill’s proposals include plans to make it easier for new higher education providers to enter the sector, along with the transfer of powers to the new Office for Students, as well as a new university ranking system.

Read More (The Conversation)

Digital technology puts a world of information at our fingertips, but it also allows bosses to reach into their workers' personal time with unprecedented ease.

This blurring of the boundaries between work and personal time has generated a new industry around "digital mindfulness" — and now at least one country has changed the law to protect employees.

Read More (CNBC)

When did electricity take over from steam in the UK? When did football replace cricket as the most popular sport? And what year did women start to become more frequently mentioned in the press?

We can turn to big data for the answers. Specifically, a new paper by a team artificial intelligence researchers at the University of Bristol that used AI to analyse the news from 100 different British regional newspapers over the past 150 years.

Read More (WIRED)

As smartphones have proliferated, so have questions about their impact on how we live and how we work.

Often the advantages of convenient, mobile technology are both obvious and taken for granted, leaving more subtle topics for concerned discussion: Are smartphones disturbing children's sleep? Is an inability to get away from work having a negative impact on health? And what are the implications for privacy?

Read More (NPR)

Society could come to an end in less than a decade, a “mathematical historian” has predicted.

Professor Peter Turchin said sweeping political turmoil and social unrest could result in the collapse of the world as we know it in the 2020s.

Read More (The Independent)

Even today, more than fifty years after its first edition, Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions remains the first port of call to learn about the history, philosophy or sociology of science.

This is the book famous for talking about science as governed by ‘paradigms’ until overtaken by ‘revolutions’.

Read More (The Guardian)

Politically correct. Political correctness. Using the biggest bully pulpit there is, Trump has wielded the phrase and its variants like a club some days and a shield on others.

And he's hardly alone.

Read More (NPR)

Recent reports that Russia hacked into the emails of Democratic Party officials to interfere with the U.S. presidential election have rightly set off alarm bells around Washington about the need for improved digital defenses.

But while attention has focused on that and numerous other government breaches, the private sector has been facing a cybersecurity crisis of its own.

Read More (Politico)

Donald Trump has apparently chosen Rex Tillerson, chief executive of ExxonMobil, to be secretary of state. John R. Bolton, a hawkish Bush administration official and fierce supporter of the 2003 Iraq War, is in line to become the deputy secretary.

Setting aside the uncertainties of Senate confirmation, it is worth considering the nomination as a social scientist.

Read More (Washington Post)

Researchers who study the spread of misinformation say they’d like to help Facebook get to grips with its fake news crisis.

But while Twitter makes data available in bulk through an interface that anyone with some basic coding skills can access, Facebook is not nearly as open.

Read More (BuzzFeed)

President-elect Donald Trump said Sunday that “nobody really knows” whether climate change is real and that he is “studying” whether the United States should withdraw from the global warming agreement struck in Paris a year ago.

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, Trump said he’s “very open-minded” on whether climate change is underway but has serious concerns about how President Obama’s efforts to cut carbon emissions have undercut America’s global competitiveness.

Read More (The Washington Post)

Social scientists routinely promise confidentiality to those who participate in their research. They tell participants that they will not inform anyone else about their involvement with the research or they will not reveal what they have said. This is done to encourage and ensure frank participation.

But while ethics committees and review boards often mandate these promises of confidentiality, it is rare for such bodies, or universities, to speak up for researchers when they are faced with demands that they break confidentiality.

Read More (The Conversation)

Cutting welfare and social care budgets during times of economic hardship is an “historically obsolete” strategy that ignores the very roots of British prosperity, a group of Cambridge academics have warned.

Writing in the leading medical journal, The Lancet, a team of researchers argue that squeezing health and welfare spending in order to reduce taxes, and on the basis that these are luxuries that can only be afforded when times are good, overlooks a critical lesson of British history – namely that they are central to the nation’s economic success.

Read More (University of Cambridge)

The head of the schools watchdog has linked the Brexit vote to the failure to raise education standards in parts of England.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, speaking ahead of the publication of the Ofsted annual report on Thursday, highlighted the continuing geographical divide in education, with schools in the north and east Midlands continuing to lag behind those in London and the south.

Read More (Guardian)

The now century-old decline of religiosity in England, Scotland and Wales is often measured by indicators such as church worship, denominational identity and membership as well as Sunday school attendance.

Grace Davie caused quite a stir when she proposed that more individually-constructed belief systems and spiritualities may persist among large chunks of the British and European populations, despite the decline of organized religion.

Read More (LSE British Politics and Policy Blog)

It's the fifth annual #Giving Tuesday — a holiday marketing tradition inspired by Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, but with a twist.

Today thousands of charities are asking us to open our wallets. But how can we be sure the group we donate to is effective — that we're getting the most bang for our charity buck?

Read More (NPR)

'English votes for English laws' (EVEL) has not enhanced England's voice in the UK Parliament, according a 12-month study by researchers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

The study says that "greater attention should be paid to the challenge of enhancing England's voice in the UK parliament".

Read More (Phys.org)

f there was Oppenheimerian self-criticism from the scientific culture it was based on the certainty of technology’s supremacy – with science, after all, you could flatten a city by dropping a single bomb.

But science, it turns out, isn’t actually that germane when the threat turns out to be aeroplane hijackers armed with nothing more technically advanced than a folding knife and a Mace spray.

Read More (The Guardian)

There are 7.4 billion people on the planet – nearly three times as many as there were 60 years ago. The UN estimates that in another 60 years we will be approaching 11 billion. Others say that population will peak soon, then fall gradually as we hit resource limits.

There is another possibility: that hitting those limits causes our surprisingly fragile civilisation to collapse, triggering a global die-off.

Read More (New Scientist)

In the week since Donald Trump’s victory, debate has raged over the role played by social media in the US election.

Both Trump and his campaign’s digital director have partially credited social networks for his win, and Mark Zuckerberg has been under huge pressure to tackle the proliferation of fake stories on Facebook.

Read More (Quartz)

One of Scotland’s leading academics has launched an attack on a key Westminster policy, condemning plans to curb the number of foreign students to reduce immigration as “deeply impoverishing”.

Sally Mapstone, principal of the University of St Andrews, has spoken out against proposals made by Amber Rudd, the home secretary, to reduce the number of foreign students in the UK by linking their rights to the quality of courses.

Read More (The Times)

The number of workers in the UK in precarious positions where they could lose their jobs at short or no notice has grown by almost 2 million in the past decade, as businesses insist on using more self-employed workers and increasingly recruit staff on temporary and zero-hours contracts, analysis for the Guardian has revealed.

More than one in five workers, some 7.1 million people, now face precarious employment conditions that mean they could lose their work suddenly – up from 5.3 million in 2006, according to analysis of official figures conducted by John Philpott, a leading labour market economist.

Read More (The Guardian)

The mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani was a proponent of a controversial policing philosophy known as "broken windows." It calls for police to go after small crimes, in hopes of preventing bigger problems.

At first, it appeared as if violent crime dropped in the neighborhoods where "broken windows" policing was in force. The statistics, however, told a different story.

Read More (KNBA)

The election of Donald Trump has revived parallels between the United States and the precarious condition of European democracies in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Democratic leaders, including President Obama, have expressed hope for reconciliation.

Read More (Washington Post)

Too little use is made of the UK’s academic research base when government comes up with new legislation and policies, members of the House of Lords Constitution Committee have been warned.

An evidence session looking into the way the legislative process is informed by evidence was told that poor quality, stand alone research is too often used to support pre-determined policy objectives.

Read More (Civil Service World)

Over the past months senior politicians in the UK have called into question the role of experts in politics.

Much of this view is linked to the Brexit debate and Michael Gove’s comment that ‘people in this country have had enough of experts’

Read More (The Guardian)

The logic of ‘moneyball’ has been applied to elections.

Digital tools and data analytics help campaigns listen to, observe, and engage with their voters in a deep and specific way.

Read More (Back Channel)

The Secretary of State for Justice Liz Truss presented her Prison Safety and Reform White Paper this week.

A full nine months in gestation (since the former Prime Minister’s seminal speech back in February), it’s a smart document.

Read More (Huffington Post)

Prisons in England and Wales are to see their biggest overhaul in a generation, Justice Secretary Liz Truss has said.

She unveiled a White Paper detailing £1.3bn investment in new prisons over the next five years, and plans for 2,100 extra officers, drug tests and more autonomy for governors.

Read More (BBC)

People are generally optimistic that regulators and broadcasters feel the responsibility to protect more “vulnerable” audience members, such as children – but they do want greater clarity and communication when making complaints.

Audiences believed that broadcasters and regulators should be responsible for enforcing standards – but were largely unclear as to where the role of one ended and the other began.

Read More (The Conversation)

“The Missing Women in STEM? Assessing Gender Differentials in the Factors Associated With Transition to First Jobs,” published in Social Science Research, analyzes data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.

It tracks young people’s career aspirations that year and their career paths periodically thereafter and focuses on 163 women and 353 men with undergraduate STEM degrees

Read More (Inside Higher Ed)

The House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee recently published a report on this issue, which can be found here (the “Commons Report”).

This report is in light of the anticipated impact of AI in the coming years, with changes to employment and education required as a result.

Read More (Eversheds)

Last week, Michael Gove returned to the theme that he pursued with vigour during the EU referendum campaign, arguing in his Times column that “those who consider, or declare, themselves experts are actually more likely to err than the rest of us.”

Over the weekend, he was joined by Glyn Davies, Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, who tweeted that he “Personally, never thought of academics as ‘experts’.

Read More (The Guardian)

Babies begin to "talk" at just a few months old using gestures whose meaning is often overlooked by parents, say scientists.

The subtle "micro-behaviours" are said to be an early demonstration of attention-sharing - a key element of human language.

Read More (Daily Mail)

Many of us see our privacy as a basic right.

But in the digital world of app-addiction, geolocation tracking and social oversharing, some may have cause to wonder if that right is steadily and sometimes willingly being eroded away.

Read More (University of Cambridge)

If you were to be presented with a scene of unimaginable gore, where several of your fellow-humans were being hacked to death and their entrails and vital fluids scattered liberally around the room, your immediate reaction would presumably be to run away from this horror, and try to find safety (assuming you weren’t busy vomiting).

It would be a bit weird, alarming even, if you were to offer to pay to watch this scenario, possibly while eating popcorn or nachos (which may also lead to vomiting if taken to excess).

Read More (The Guardian)

Halloween ignites the American economy—and this is never more true than in an election year.

During the election cycle, people adjust their consumption habits based on their expectations of the future.

Read More (Quartz)

Undergraduate education in the social sciences is anything but a simple proposition in the current climate for higher education.

With shifting economic demands on universities, uncertain employment pathways for graduates, and the marginalization of the social sciences in comparison to STEM fields, it is inevitable that some commentators argue for change

Read More (University Affairs)

Zika, and before it Ebola, have driven home to the scientific community that technology is not the whole answer to pandemics.

The Gates Foundation, in London hosting its Grand Challenges meeting, where scientists are invited to bid for funding for innovative solutions to global problems, has moved from what was once perceived as a very hi-tech and scientific focus to a much broader outlook.

Read More (The Guardian)

You can see the recruitment of international students as the practical application of a challenge thrown down by the great American social anthropologist Clifford Geertz.

“The next necessary thing,” he wrote “is to enlarge the possibility of intelligible discourse between people quite different from one another in interest, outlook, wealth, and power, and yet contained in a world where tumbled as they are into endless connection, it is increasingly difficult to get out of each other’s way”.

Read More (The Guardian)

According to research published today, those admission rates could be reduced if GPs were better supported to provide more specialist care for chronic conditions and difficult-to-reach groups.

The study, carried out by the University of Bristol’s School of Social and Community Medicine, measured how much admission rates varied between the 8,000 general practices in England during 2011/12, and included 1.8 million admissions.

Read More (University of Bristol)

As the Pirate Party continues to pick up steam both in Iceland and across the globe, it reveals what people are beginning to value when it comes to their political systems.

And with Iceland preparing for what could be a major shakeup with a large portion of parliament becoming Pirate seats, it’ll be interesting to see how that affects other developments with similar ideologies.

Read More (Inverse)

Social science can provide a better understanding of why different perspectives disagree – and help (when possible) to identify common ground.

Hard-pressed policymakers often find it useful to understand how to foster trust, confidence and “acceptance” of their institutions and procedures.

Read More (The Guardian)

Promoting humanities and social sciences will contribute to strengthening the competitiveness of Japan’s industries during and after the fourth industrial revolution, and enable liberalism and democracy to function efficiently.

For these two reasons, they are essential for Japan’s education policy today.

Read More (Japan Times)

Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist and professor of ethical leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business.

He is author of The Happiness Hypothesis and The Righteous Mind and is currently writing a book about morality and capitalism.

Read More (Pacific Standard)

In 2015, computer scientists, criminologists and legal academics joined forces to form the Cambridge Cybercrime Centre, with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Their aim is to help governments, businesses and ordinary users to construct better defences.

Read More (University of Cambridge)

Read More (The Conversation)

For most of history, the majority of people were so busy trying to survive, they didn't worry all that much about how happy they were.

That's probably still true for most of the 2.8 billion people who live on less than $2 a day.

Read More (Mother Nature Network)

he study of psychology is facing a crisis. A lot of research doesn’t show the same results when the experiment is repeated, and it is critical we address this problem.

But the Research Excellence Framework has led to a research culture which is suffocating attempts to stabilise psychology in particular, and science in general.

Read More (The Guardian)

As the news media cover the turbulent 2016 presidential election, there’s been considerable debate around how much emphasis they should put on inaccurate or potentially offensive statements made by candidates.

A new Pew Research Center survey finds that while those who support Donald Trump are divided in their views on whether journalists should highlight statements that many may find offensive, supporters of both candidates overwhelmingly say the news media should draw attention to claims that are inaccurate.

Read More (Pew Research Center)

The increasingly sophisticated ability of political consultants to identify and target persuadable voters is playing out on the doorsteps and in the mailboxes of nearly 300,000 voters here in southeastern Pennsylvania.

The super PAC of the liberal group League of Conservation Voters said last month that it would be knocking on voters’ doors in Montgomery and Delaware counties, in the Philadelphia suburbs that are a battleground in the contest between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

Read More (Wall Street Journal)

The annual frenzy of responses from higher education institutions to the release of the “big three” higher education rankings which include the QS, Association of Research World Universities and most recently The Times Higher Education World University Rankings is winding up.

Top ranked institutions send out press releases celebrating their world classness, and institutions that don’t make the cut decry methodological flaws and simplistic comparisons

Read More (Social Science Space)

Donald Trump has formally apologized. Both in video, and in person on the debate stage Sunday night.

Yet in the eyes of many, he stands unforgiven. A man forever condemned by his past. Is that fair?

Read More (Psychology Today)

Support for a universal basic income – the payment of a regular and guaranteed income to a country’s citizens as of right – is beginning to gather pace. Trials are being planned in several countries while Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator is to test a scheme in California.

In the UK, the idea is backed by the Green Party and the SNP, is being seriously examined by the Labour Party, and has support from the Royal Society of Arts and the pro-market think-tank, the Adam Smith Institute.

Read More (LSE British Politics and Policy Blog)

The “big data” revolution has already transformed fields such as biology, astronomy and physics, but its impact has been much more patchy in the social sciences.

To explore why this might be, the University of Essex has teamed up with Sage Publishing to produce a Sage white paper titled Who Is Doing Computational Social Science?: Trends in Big Data Research.

Read More (Times Higher Education)

Artificial intelligence has the potential to fundamentally alter how we live and work but government lacks any sort of coherent strategy for responding to the social and ethical dilemmas posed by the rise of intelligent machines.

It's for that reason a 'Commission on Artificial Intelligence' should be established at the Alan Turing Institute to examine the social, ethical and legal implications of the rapid recent developments in AI and potential developments in future, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has declared.

Read More (ZDNet)

In the hard sciences, there’s abundant evidence of progress, though the progress is often not from superstition to science but from bad science to better science. The “science” of human behavior, however, represents something else entirely.

Social scientists have long sought to explain human behavior and optimize the human experience without regard to faith, or in open opposition to faith.

Read More (New York Post)

Casual sex, hookups or one-night stands: whatever you call it, more than half of us will have sex with someone we barely know or don’t expect to date in the future.

We’re most likely to do this at university, where up to 80% of undergraduates have hookups.

Read More (The Guardian)

By now, most of you likely are receiving those energy efficiency reports in the mail from your local utility company — the ones with the colorful bar graphs that show you how your energy use stacks up against your neighbors. This isn’t an idle “FYI’’ exercise, but a carefully designed strategy aimed at encouraging you to cut back on the power.

The approach is grounded in social science research, based on the belief that if you find out your neighbors are doing the right thing, you will want to do the right thing too.

Read More (Popular Science)

A recent study of 82,000 graduates has found that students in the humanities and the social sciences often have more stable careers than their peers.

Earnings from more lucrative fields, such as computer science, were found to be more vulnerable to shifts in the economy.

Read More (The Brock Press)

Ms Rudd was a banker.

She should know the value of robust evidence and reliable statistics. That is the only basis for policy.

Read More (The Guardian)

Can we truly trust computers in ‘high-stakes’ applications such as robotic surgery, terrorism detection and driverless cars?

Have the internet and social media driven an explosion in the number of conspiracy theories around the world? And how can we protect ourselves the increasingly ingenious cybercriminals?

Read More (University of Cambridge)