Social Ecology hires two new faculty members to collaborate with Institute for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research

May 2017

The School of Social Ecology has hired two new assistant professors, Jenna Riis and Kate Kuhlman, to work in the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, effective July 1, 2017. Both plan to develop research collaborations with the Institute for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research, which uses saliva to better understand important issues such as stress, heart disease risk, animal wellness, infectious diseases and much more.

Quas wins 2017 Outstanding Community Researcher award

May 2017

Jodi Quas, a professor of psychology and social behavior, has won the 2017 Outstanding Community Researcher award from the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, a campus-wide institute that helps shuttle discoveries from the lab into practice.

The award recognizes a UCI faculty member who has demonstrated commitment to collaborative research partnerships with a community organization.

You didn't build that: why remembering your good fortune can be good for you and others

May 2017

Life is shaped by factors beyond a person's control -- unearned advantages and undeserved disadvantages. But how much someone recognizes that often depends on whether they've benefited from or been hindered by those external factors, according to research by Paul Piff, assistant professor of psychology and social behavior.

Beth Loftus gives expert testimony in Jerry Sandusky case

May 2017

Beth Loftus, distinguished professor of social ecology, gave expert testimony at the latest Jerry Sandusky appeals hearing, saying by phone that that there is no credible scientific support for a theory that someone can wall off a “horrific brutalization” and then recall it later because of counseling and therapy.

One of victims in the former Penn State assistant football coach's child sexual abuse case said his statements evolved from when he first testified five years ago -- a change he says resulted, in part, because of counseling and therapy.

Wealth affects driving and other behaviors, research says

May 2017

Gaining wealth seems to have a damaging effect on a person's character, according to research done by Paul Piff, assistant professor of psychology and social behavior. Plus, they're worse drivers.

Wealthy people, Piff told, are less willing to take up the perspective of another person and less concerned about another’s well-being, and they tend to equate being better off with being better than others. Money makes people feel more deserving of success, he adds, and less needful of others. Piff is conducting a study of 50,000 adults to see how wealth influences social behavior.

Perception of a moral partisan divide driven by partisan media

May 2017

Partisan factionalism has grown more severe recently, with Republicans and Democrats increasingly huddling in exclusive camps. Compared to decades past, people are more likely to be displeased if their children marry someone from the other party, and more likely to see members of the other party as selfish.

That animosity lingers. It's not like in sports, where the importance of team preferences goes away when the subject changes, Peter Ditto, professor of psychology and social behavior, told the Orange County Register. "In politics, people see it as a moral difference,” Ditto said. "And it’s fed by the media, and by people surrounding themselves with others who think the same way."