Social Science in the News

The Conversation

Google has some of the most powerful computers and smartest algorithms in the world, has hired some of the best brains in computing, and through its purchase of British firm Deepmind has acquired AI expertise that recently saw an AI beat a human grandmaster at the game of go.

Social Science Space

SAGE Publishing, the parent of Social Science Space, recently held the webinar From Publication to the Public: Expanding your research beyond academia with Maria Balinska, editor of The Conversation US.

NPR

This week on Hidden Brain: Traffic. You hate it, we hate it, the rest of the world hates it, and it only seems to be getting worse.

Social Science Space

It might seem wrongheaded to ask whether sociology still matters.

BBC

If graduates are feeling like they never get any better off, despite having a degree, maybe that's because they really are getting poorer.

Times Higher Education

Highly novel research proposals are being systematically turned down because they fall outside evaluators’ paradigms of understanding, a new study suggests.

The Guardian

Has western society reached “peak stuff”? If reports that once-insatiable shoppers are starting to cut back are true, what are the consequences for the old economic theory that more consumption equals greater happiness?

The Guardian

The government’s plan to force all schools to become academies has come under further attack with research which suggests that council-maintained schools outperform academies at inspection.

New York Academy of Sciences

Interdisciplinarity is a word à la mode, as shown by the contributions in Nature's special issue on the topic (September 2015).

Forbes

The lesson is that continued research is required into social science aspects of human response to warnings.

Nature

A global science body set up to assess the ecological health and biodiversity of the planet is struggling to solve its own lack of diversity: a monoculture of natural scientists on its staff.

The Conversation

It’s a stereotype, but many of us have made the assumption that scientists are a bit rigid and less artistic than others. Artists, on the other hand, are often seen as being less rational than the rest of us.

The Guardian

A judge in Nebraska has ruled that Pastafarianism is not a religion and that prisoner Stephen Cavanaugh may not wear a colander on his head; he had claimed that this was a requirement of his beliefs, and so protected under the first amendment.

BBC

Workers aged over 40 perform at their best if they work three days a week, according to economic researchers.

Motherboard

As we stare down the barrel of a world totally transformed (read: destroyed) by climate change in the not-so-distant future, a lot of the brightest minds around the world are spending a good deal of time trying to figure out how to mitigate its effects.

The Guardian

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds should be given higher priority in admissions decisions to stop primary schools becoming divided by class, according to education charity the Sutton Trust.

Huffington Post

Child inequality is worse in the UK than many other developed countries, a damning study by Unicef says.

OECD

While poor literacy skills severely limit people’s access to better-paying and more rewarding jobs, data from the OECD Survey of Adult Skills also shows that individuals with poor literacy skills are far more likely than those with advanced literacy skills to report poor health, to believe that they have little impact on political processes, and not to participate in associative or volunteer activities.

The Conversation

For centuries, happiness was exclusively a concern of the humanities; a matter for philosophers, novelists and artists. In the past five decades, however, it has moved into the domain of science and given us a substantial body of research.

BBC

Graduates from wealthy families "earn significantly more" in their careers than less well-off counterparts, even if they study the same course at the same university, according to research.

University of Nottingham

Becoming unemployed changes people’s morals around the distribution of money, says a new study from The University of Nottingham.

Washington Post

It’s just hours before kickoff on Super Bowl Sunday, but Adam Grant is talking about baseball.

Los Angeles Times

A roughly 10-minute, face-to-face conversation is enough to change about 1 in 10 voters’ attitudes toward transgender people, according to a new study by two California political science researchers.

Huffington Post

Nearly seven million people feel depressed when they see friends’ lives on social media, according to research that found sites like Facebook and Twitter can lead to a mindset of sadness and exclusion.

Nature

If the science community is serious about integrating social science into its thinking and operations — and statements by everyone from Nature and the UK government to Paul Nurse, former president of the Royal Society, indicate that it is — then we social scientists must do more to make this happen.

Huffington Post

In a new paper published in the journal Science on Friday, social scientists from the U.S. and the U.K. called for environmental science and the social sciences to come together in combatting ecological destruction.

The Guardian

We need to challenge the concept of the superstar researcher whose groundbreaking discovery will help beat global poverty.

Ars Technica

Apologies often march hand-in-hand with a claim about intent—"But I didn't mean it like that!"

University of Cambridge

New Cambridge ‘crime harm index’ published today quantifies true cost of crime: damage caused to victims and society. Experts call on UK government to adopt low-cost metric for greater transparency of crime trends and risks. Some UK forces have already used approach with early successes in identifying ‘harm spots’.

Huffington Post

Today sees the introduction of the National Living Wage, a flagship policy of the Chancellor, George Osborne, who boldly announced last year that "Britain deserves a pay rise".

New Statesman

The announcement that Tata Steel are to put all of their British steel operations up for sale is the biggest challenge for British industry in a generation and it needs a coherent response from industry, government and trade unions.

Huffington Post

Every nursery in the country should have a qualified teacher to help children develop key skills like speech and language, a leading charity has said.

University of York

Edited by Professor Jonathan Bradshaw, The Well-Being of Children in the UK looks at how children in the UK are doing in comparison with children elsewhere and whether the UK is moving in the right direction in terms of child well-being.

The Telegraph

It has become almost a new national religion and now research shows that young people rank getting on the property ladder as more important in life than marriage, children or advancing in their career.

The Conversation

It is estimated that in 2015, more than a million people crossed the Mediterranean to Europe in search of safety and a better life. 3,770 are known to have died trying to make this journey during the same period.

Nature

The risks posed by climate change have been a subject of public policy debate in many countries. In some (most notably the United States), even the existence of an anthropogenic element in climate change remains controversial, despite increasing scientific consensus.

University of Oxford

Researchers have used high-definition video cameras on the roof of a large indoor stadium to track how strangers formed groups.

Washington Post

Today’s terrorist attacks in Belgium claimed at least 32 lives. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks. After the earlier attacks in Paris, we featured a variety of social science perspectives, beginning with my overview.

Financial Times

My spirits soared when I heard of the Sock Doctrine.

King's College London

In an increasingly globalised economy and culturally diverse country, a new report from King’s College London and NCS reveals a ‘concerning' lack of social integration and level of loneliness amongst the next generation of young people, which could be harmful to the UK’s economy and wellbeing in the future.

The Washington Post

In an era of bitter partisanship, politicians and pundits across the ideological spectrum seem to agree on one thing: Our prison system is broken.

BBC

Chancellor George Osborne has rejected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's claim that he has "declared war on the disabled" with "callous cuts".

TIME

Finally, a social science study to back up what anyone who has loved—or loved and lost—already knows:

Quartz

Surveys are key tools of social science research. But sometimes they’re tainted by responses from subjects who fail to follow the instructions they’ve been given.

Ars Technica

Social science, including behavioral economics, has recently come under fire as failing to generate studies with reproducible results.

The University of Nottingham

The societies we live in can have a direct influence on how dishonest people may be, according to a new study from The University of Nottingham.

The Guardian

Teachers working in the most deprived schools, where attainment levels are lower and children are needier, are more likely to be inexperienced and therefore less effective at their job, according to new research.

Washington Post

Last year, a widely reported paper in Science found that less than half of published research in top, peer-reviewed psychology journals failed to replicate when the studies were repeated by other researchers.

Financial Times

Does the gender of executives make a difference to business performance? The evidence is mounting that it does.

The Independent

It’s always horrible when people lose their jobs. But, sometimes, the hard truth is that redundancies can represent a victory for public policy.

Financial Times

Everyone wants to feel special and most of us like being asked questions about ourselves. Those simple facts help explain the success of the cohort study in which researchers kept in touch with 70,000 British citizens whose mothers signed them up for life-long studies, and who have little to gain from participating other than the satisfaction of securing a small but vital place in history.

Harvard Gazette

According to two Harvard professors and their collaborators, a widely reported study released last year that said more than half of all psychology studies cannot be replicated is itself wrong.

NPR

Social science research examines how the mood of gamblers can change the way they think about risk.

Politics Home

The Department for Education has made significant progress in providing 15 hours of free childcare to more parents of 3- and 4-year olds and parents of disadvantaged 2-year-olds, according to the National Audit Office.

NPR

New research looks at how gender shapes competitions. Multiple strands of social science research suggest highly competitive settings are likely to dissuade qualified women from tossing their hats in the ring.

The Guardian

Michael James is 13 and has the long, lean look of a boy who has just had a growth spurt. His dad’s a lorry driver; Michael has decided he wants to be the first in his family to go to university.

BBC

Ten new housing developments in England are to be built with healthy living in mind, under an NHS scheme.

Oxford

Young migrants from EU countries have higher employment rates and are less likely to seek jobseeker's allowance than their UK peers, according to study by the Department of Social Policy and Intervention.

Huffington Post

Mental health effects every area of government in varying degrees from our NHS that has seen the highest rise in young people seeking help for mental health disorders.

Daily Mail

Cambridge University will host the UK’s first ever hip-hop conference to examine the likes of Kanye West, Dizzee Rascal and Tinie Tempah.

Washington Post

The American commute is getting longer.

Times Higher Education

Universities need a new funding model, say Andrei E. Ruckenstein, Mark E. Smith and Nicola C. Owen, who want academics to take the lead in tackling the problem.

Nature

The effects on distant tomorrows of the decisions we make today have never been greater.

BBC

Leading British actors are more than twice as likely as stars in the music industry to have attended fee-paying schools, the Sutton Trust says.

University of Cambridge

Children should be given more support to enable them to be more active during the winter, particularly at weekends, say researchers from the University of Cambridge.

LSE

The existing four measures of income and material deprivation were established in 2003 after extensive consultation.

The New York Times

When the Kentucky governor, Matt Bevin, suggested last month that students majoring in French literature should not receive state funding for their college education, he joined a growing number of elected officials who want to nudge students away from the humanities and toward more job-friendly subjects like electrical engineering.

The Globe and Mail

The notion of “grit” – a combination of hard work and perseverance – has caught on everywhere.

NPR

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign is obsessed with data. If there's political science research proving an idea works, there's a good chance his staff has studied it.

The Guardian

Does the UK’s chronic skills shortage mean we are fated to become an also-ran in the global economic race?

The Daily Mail

In politics, it is said that all press is good press. But that does not necessarily apply to tweets.

Times Higher

There is still a lot that we do not know about the circumstances of the murder of our former colleague and friend Giulio Regeni, a Cambridge PhD student who went missing in Cairo on the evening of 25 January.

University of Warwick

New research finds migration could help decrease not increase number of attacks.

The Conversation

When it comes to homelessness, sleeping rough in a shop doorway is just the start of the problem.

NPR

Social scientists have been studying Valentine's Day gifts, and research shows: The more you love someone, the more likely you might be to give selfish gifts.

Washington Post

The situation in Flint is bad.

City AM

You really shouldn’t take too much stock in the figures that either side are shouting about in the build up to the EU referendum.

LSE

Poverty is a lifestyle choice, according to government rhetoric.

The Guardian

How we use metrics in higher education is a fiercely debated topic , and as the Teaching Excellence Framework is rolled out, looks set to stay high on the agenda.

USA Today

The Army appears to have revived a controversial program that sent social scientists to battlefields and became mired in fraud and sexual harassment, according to documents and interviews.

The Guardian

Rodents are threatening the unique natural environment of Australia’s sparsely populated Lord Howe Island. But a plan to eradicate the pests by dropping 42 tonnes of poisoned cereal is splitting the close-knit community in half.

LSE

The NHS never seems to be out of the news.

The Independent

The ONS found that no group expressed more overall disgruntlement than men from 45 to 59.

BBC News

In many universities, something is stirring up the "dismal science", as economics is sometimes derogatorily called.

SciDev.Net

At least 65 science bodies say they want to join a UN effort to lower global disaster risk.

The Telegraph

European cities have some of the highest levels for quality of life in the world, but the continent has significant divides in its population's satisfaction.

University of Sussex

British people are at their least happy while at work – except when they are sick in bed – according to researchers at the University of Sussex and the London School of Economics (LSE).

Daily Mail

It may seem that some people have all the luck, having success after success in various aspects of their life.

Forbes

As robotics and autonomous systems flourish, human-robot relationships are becoming increasingly important.

Reuters

You can chalk it up as another victory for the machines.

Daily Mail

With a ban on solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons, Barack Obama is pushing to reform an overcrowded and expensive correctional system in a country that locks up more people per capita than any other nation.

Huffington Post

20,000 single parents will be excluded from extended hours childcare under plans set out in the new Childcare Bill.

Vox

Journalists have a need for digestible headlines that convey simple, accessible, and preferably novel lessons.

University of Oxford

While traditional economic and evolutionary theory predicts that people will typically seek to maximise their own success, the results of economic games have shown people to be much more altruistic than expected.

The Economist

HOW many Facebook friends do you have?

PBS

Last month, behavioral economist Dan Ariely and his team at the Center for Advanced Hindsight opened up the Common Cents Lab.

The Telegraph

The partners of men who are depressed are more likely to give birth prematurely, a Swedish study has found.

Pacific Standard

When you started your job, did your company automatically enroll you in a retirement plan?

NPR

This week we're talking about New Year's resolutions.

LSE

Austerity measures at national level have not helped regions to recover following the 2008 economic crisis, according to a new LSE study of the UK and other EU countries.