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  • University of Illinois faculty members, from left, Kim Shinew, Liza Berdychevsky and Monika Stodolska are co-writing a series of papers that examine gang membership and criminal activity from the perspective of leisure science. The studies are based on interviews with former members of street gangs operating in Chicago and central Illinois.

    Study: Street gangs, crime serve as deviant leisure activities for youths

    A new study by University of Illinois researchers suggests that gang membership and criminality serve as deviant leisure activities, fulfilling youths' needs for excitement, belonging and social support.

  • Photo of researchers together

    Study: Brain mechanisms involved in learning also drive social conformity

    Some of the same brain systems known to play a role in learning from trial and error also are engaged when people conform to social norms, scientists report in a new study. The findings are important, the researchers said, because changing one’s behavior to align with one’s peers can contribute to community-building or – depending on the goals and values of the group – societal breakdown.

  • Kevin Mumford

    Comparing the '60s civil rights movement and today's gay rights movement

    A Minute With™... Illinois history professor Kevin Mumford

  • History professor Rana Hogarth’s research focuses on the history of both medicine and race, and the connections between.

    What drives us to blame the marginalized for epidemics?

    There’s a long history of scapegoating marginalized people in epidemics, and of seeing difference in the way those of different races respond to disease, says Rana Hogarth, a U. of I. professor who studies the history of both medicine and race, and the connections between.

  • Illinois communication professor John Murphy’s new book examines the legacy of John F. Kennedy through his speeches.

    What can we learn from JFK about presidential speechmaking?

    An Illinois professor looks at presidential speechmaking through one of its more-eloquent practitioners, John F. Kennedy.

  • Feeling anxious? Check your orbitofrontal cortex and cultivate your optimism, study suggests

    A new study links anxiety, a brain structure called the orbitofrontal cortex, and optimism, finding that healthy adults who have larger OFCs tend to be more optimistic and less anxious.

  • Scholars and scientists have made key discoveries in the past decade about the 14th-century plague known as the Black Death, says history professor Carol Symes.

    What's new with the plague? More than you might think

    Pandemics of the past are getting new attention, among them the plague of the 14th century. Known as the Black Death, it was medieval, European, bubonic and spread by rats – at least that’s what most of us think. Much of that needs adjustment, however, in large part due to discoveries of the past decade, says Carol Symes, a professor of medieval history at Illinois.

  • In one of the first books on the subject, Jeffery Mondak, a professor of political science, makes the case that certain personality traits can sway us to be more liberal or conservative, to be more or less likely to attend a protest march, more or less likely to ignore politics altogether.

    Your personality plays a role in your political behavior, author says

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Our personalities play a role in every aspect of our lives, from friendships to hobbies, from whom we marry to what we do for a living.

  • University of Illinois recreation, sport and tourism professor Lynn Barnett found in a new study that being labeled a “class clown” by teachers and classmates may have negative repercussions for boys that become evident by third grade and could affect their long-term social and educational success.

    Study explores the down side of being dubbed ‘class clown’

    By the time boys who are dubbed class clowns reach third grade, they plummet to the bottom of the social circle -- and view themselves as social failures -- as classmates’ disapproval of their behavior grows, a new study found.

  • Illinois researchers Sheldon H. Jacobson and Douglas M. King found that mass-killing events in the United States have occurred at a steady rate for more than a decade, yet the method and timing are random.

    Mass killings happen randomly, yet rate has remained steady, study finds

    Mass killings may have increasing news coverage, but the events themselves have happened at a steady rate for more than a decade, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers.

  • The British Empire, in its heyday, faced a lot more war, protest and insurgency than is often acknowledged in the common rise-and-fall narrative, says U. of I. historian Antoinette Burton, in "The Trouble With Empire."

    British Empire was a world of trouble, says historian in a new book

    The British Empire was not the model of peace and stability, the “Pax Britannica,” as it’s often portrayed. Dissent and disruption were the rule, not the exception, according to Antoinette Burton, in her new book "The Trouble With Empire."

  • U. of I. anthropology professor Jayur Mehta leads the Carson Mounds Archaeological Project, a long-term study of ancient monument-building societies in the Lower Mississippi Valley.

    Study: Ancient mound builders carefully timed their occupation of coastal Louisiana site

    A study of ancient mound builders who lived hundreds of years ago on the Mississippi River Delta near present-day New Orleans offers new insights into how Native peoples selected the landforms that supported their villages and earthen mounds – and why these sites were later abandoned.

  • Anthropology professor Kathryn Clancy and her colleagues interviewed students about their experiences in academic fieldwork.

    Report identifies factors associated with harassment, abuse in academic fieldwork

    College students considering careers in fields like archaeology or geology that require extensive work at remote field sites might want to find out how potential supervisors and advisers conduct themselves in the field. Do they establish clear ground rules for the behavior of everyone on the team? Are the rules consistently enforced? According to a new report, such factors likely influence whether students will witness or experience harassment while working far from home.

  • Young children develop body image much earlier than parents believe, suggests a new study led by Janet Liechty, a professor of social work and of medicine at the University of Illinois. Co-authors of the paper were Julie P. Birky, a clinical counselor at the Counseling Center, and social work graduate student Samantha Clarke, both of the U. of I.; and University of Michigan communication studies professor Kristen Harrison.

    Preschoolers form body images – but parents are unaware, study says

    Preschoolers may express awareness about body-image issues – but their parents may miss opportunities to promote positive body-image formation in their children because parents believe them to be too young to have these concerns, new research suggests.

  • Ronald Bailey

    The social trends behind the '12 Years a Slave' story

    A Minute With™... Ronald Bailey  the head of the African American studies department at the University of Illinois

  • Anthropology professor Rebecca Stumpf is one of six U. of I. professors named as Guggenheim Fellows.

    Six Illinois professors named Guggenheim Fellows

    Six professors at the University of Illinois have been named 2016 Guggenheim Fellows, bringing to 13 the number of U. of I. faculty members who have been honored with the fellowship over the last three years. This year’s fellows are Dennis Baron, Karin A. Dahmen, Craig Koslofsky, Mei-Po Kwan, Ralph W. Mathisen and Rebecca Stumpf.

  • Egyptians today are closer to their modern ideal of traditional marriage than they were in the distant past, says Middle East historian Kenneth Cuno, who also teaches a course on the history of the family in both the west and east.

    Egypt historical study shows 'traditional' marriage more modern than we think

    Mention traditional marriage and family and it’s easy to think you’re talking about age-old customs. Those “traditional” ideals and practices, however, are more likely a product of the last two centuries, says a University of Illinois history professor.

  • A. Naomi Paik, a professor of Asian American studies at Illinois, studies policing and prisons as part of her research.

    Why the calls for defunding police?

    Calls for defunding or even abolishing the police in the wake of George Floyd’s death may sound radical to many, but the idea is not new, says A. Naomi Paik, a professor of Asian American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Photo of psychology professor Eva Pomerantz and graduate student Michael Barger

    Parental involvement in children's schooling consistently beneficial, study finds

    In a new study of more than 480,800 families, psychologists at the University of Illinois found that the more involved parents were in their children’s schooling, the better the children’s adjustment.

  • The newly designated Indiana Dunes National Park has beaches, but it also has the Great Marsh, a variety of habitats and amazing biodiversity.

    The Midwest has a new national park. How did that happen?

    The Midwest has a new national park at Indiana Dunes, and a University of Illinois professor explains how it happened and why the park is valuable.

  • U. of I. history professor and chair Diane Koenker, a specialist on the Soviet Union, tells the story of more than six decades of Soviet vacationing in her new book "Club Red."

    Vacations part of Soviet Union's 'good life,' with Sochi the dream resort

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Soviet Union had its Gulag. It also had its seaside resorts.

  • Psychology professor Sanda Dolcos and graduate student Yuta Katsumi explore how suppressing negative emotions affects brain function and memory.

    Emotional suppression reduces memory of negative events

    By peering at the brains of study subjects prompted to suppress negative emotions, scientists have gained new insights into how emotional regulation influences negative feelings and memories. They hope the findings will lead to new methods to combat depression.

  • Food chemistry professor Shelly J. Schmidt

    Distracted learning a big problem, golden opportunity for educators, students

    Experts say media multitasking negatively impacts learning, but many students believe they're immune to these effects because they're good multitaskers, according to a review paper by U. of I. professor Shelly J. Schmidt.

  • U. of I. anthropology professor Laura Shackelford; educational policy, organization and leadership professor David Huang; and computer science graduate student Cameron Merrill have created Virtual Archaeology, a virtual reality laboratory that brings an in-depth archaeological field school experience to campus.

    Team creates game-based virtual archaeology field school

    Before they can get started at their field site – a giant cave studded with stalactites, stalagmites and human artifacts – 15 undergraduate students must figure out how to use their virtual hands and tools. They also must learn to teleport. This is ANTH 399, a course designed to bring the archaeological field school experience to undergraduate students who never leave campus.

  • Journalism professor Benjamin Holden wants to balance First Amendment rights with the need to protect students from cyberbullies.

    Professor makes legal case for schools to challenge cyberbullies

    Schools have a limited ability to challenge cyberbullies, but an Illinois professor has made a legal study on how to change that.

  • Photo of Alison Dickson, a senior instructor in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

    Paper: Underemployment pervasive for part-time workers in Illinois

    As many as 61% of hourly workers in Illinois are underemployed, underscoring the need for the state to adopt a fair-workweek law, says Alison Dickson, a senior instructor in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • Social support is a significant need for many undergraduate students who are juggling the demands of parenthood, employment and postsecondary education, according to Brent McBride, director of the Child Development Laboratory.

    Grant will fund child care, support for undergraduates with children

    Low-income undergraduate students at the U. of I. who need assistance juggling the demands of parenthood and college will be able to get assistance through programs and services offered by the Child Development Laboratory.

  • Rebecca Sandefur, a professor of sociology and of law, is the recipient of a 2018 MacArthur fellowship, commonly called a “genius grant.”

    Illinois sociologist wins MacArthur fellowship

    Illinois sociologist Rebecca Sandefur has been named the recipient of a 2018 MacArthur fellowship, or “genius grant.”

  • Photo of Mound 14 surrounded by water

    North 'plaza' in Cahokia was likely inundated year-round, study finds

    The ancient North American city of Cahokia had as its focal point a feature now known as Monks Mound, a giant earthwork surrounded on its north, south, east and west by large rectangular open areas. These flat zones, called plazas by archaeologists since the early 1960s, were thought to serve as communal areas that served the many mounds and structures of the city.

    New paleoenvironmental analyses of the north plaza suggest it was almost always underwater, calling into question earlier interpretations of the north plaza’s role in Cahokian society. The study is reported in the journal World Archaeology.

  • University of Illinois psychology professors Simona Buetti and Alejandro Lleras found that as people’s engagement with a task increases, their distractibility tends to go down.

    Distracted much? New research may help explain why

    A new study offers evidence that one’s motivation is just as important for sustained attention to a task as is the ease with which the task is done.

  • Notre Dame Cathedral, severely damaged by fire this week, holds historical and symbolic significance for both France and the world, say two University of Illinois historians.

    What was lost in the Notre Dame Cathedral fire?

    Notre Dame Cathedral, severely damaged by fire this week, is widely understood as “the beating heart of France,” with global significance beyond that, says one University of Illinois historian in a Q&A. Another notes how a key aspect of music as we know it today was invented for the cathedral’s unique resonant space, a soundscape lost in the fire.

  • Anthropology professor Kathryn Clancy has co-written numerous studies about sexual harassment and gender harassment in academic science.

    How does sexual harassment affect young women in physics?

    In a study reported in the journal Physical Review Physics Education Research, nearly 75% of 471 undergraduate women in physics who responded to a survey offered during a professional conference reported having experienced at least one type of sexual harassment – mostly gender harassment – in their field. U. of I. anthropology professor Kathryn Clancy, a co-author of the report, talked to News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about the study, which also examined the respondents’ feelings of belonging and legitimacy as scientists and scholars.

  • Illinois entomology professor Gene Robinson was elected to the National Academy of Medicine “for pioneering contributions to understanding the roles of genes in social behavior.”

    Honey bee researcher Gene Robinson elected to National Academy of Medicine

    Entomology professor Gene Robinson, an international leader in honey bee research, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine “for pioneering contributions to understanding the roles of genes in social behavior.” Robinson directs the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Political science professor Nicholas Grossman teaches international relations and wrote a book on the use of drones in warfare and terrorism.

    The US used a drone to kill an Iranian general. What might be the consequences?

    An expert on the growing role of drones in warfare and terrorism discusses the implications of the recent killing of Iranian general Qassim Suleimani in a Q&A.

  • While males’ and females’ occupational interests diverge sharply during early adolescence, they converge as people age, according to a new study led by University of Illinois industrial-organizational psychology graduate student Kevin Hoff and James Rounds, who is a professor of educational psychology and of psychology.

    Gender differences in vocational interests decrease with age, study finds

    Gender differences in vocational interests increase drastically during puberty but tend to decrease across the lifespan, researchers at the University of Illinois found in a new study.

  • 'Red Tails': Why the story of the Tuskegee Airmen is still important

    A Minute With™... Sundiata Cha-Jua, a professor of history and of African American Studies

  • christopher benson

    60 years ago this month, Emmett Till's death sparked a movement

    A Minute With...™ Christopher Benson, author and professor of journalism

  • Photo of University of Illinois social work professor Kate Wegmann

    Study: Black students receive fewer warnings from teachers about misbehavior

    A new study of racial and ethnic disparities in school discipline found that black middle school students were significantly less likely than their white peers to receive warnings from teachers about misbehavior.

  • Illinois political science professor Brian Gaines has some suggestions for choosing how to cast a ballot this fall – by mail or in person – and what to watch for in the election.

    In person or by mail? What to consider in choosing how to vote

    Voters this fall must determine not only who they’re voting for, but also the safest way to cast a ballot. Brian Gaines, a political science professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, maps out some risks to consider and mistakes to avoid. He also cautions against leaping to conclusions about any alleged irregularities on Election Day.

  • Optimists are twice as likely to be in ideal cardiovascular health, according to a new study led by Rosalba Hernandez, a professor of social work at the University of Illinois.

    Optimistic people have healthier hearts, study finds

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - People who have upbeat outlooks on life have significantly better cardiovascular health, suggests a new study that examined associations between optimism and heart health in more than 5,100 adults.

  • Book tells story of integrated Illinois town founded by former slave

    A new book by Illinois information sciences professors Gerald McWorter and Kate Williams-McWorter tells how a former slave founded an integrated town in western Illinois that became a station on the Underground Railroad.

  • Unlike most books about occupied Europe in World War II, Peter Fritzsche’s “An Iron Wind” makes the civilian experience central. The U. of I. history professor mines letters, diaries and other personal accounts from locales including Paris and Warsaw, Poland, to expose the many difficult realities and choices faced by those living under Nazi rule.

    Historian finds a frail humanity in personal accounts of life under Nazi occupation

    World War II in Europe was an assault on civilians even more than a clash of arms. Civilians were uprooted, enslaved and massacred under a long Nazi occupation. So how did these civilians come to grips with the cruelty and violence all around them? University of Illinois history professor Peter Fritzsche “listened in” on their wartime talk by way of diaries, letters and other first-person accounts and describes what he found in a new book.

  • Values associated with the culture of affluence – including pressures to keep the nuclear family intact and to keep one’s problems private – complicate affluent women’s help-seeking when they experience domestic violence, according to a new study by University of Illinois alumna Megan L. Haselschwerdt. Human development and family studies professor Jennifer Hardesty was Haselschwerdt’s dissertation adviser and co-author on the study.

    ‘Culture of affluence’ complicates women’s help-seeking for domestic violence

    Pressures to maintain a facade of a perfect family and other values associated with the “culture of affluence” discourage some affluent women from leaving violent spouses or disclosing that they are being abused, a new study suggests.

  • Illinois history professor Carol Symes dug into the origins of a book revered in English history and found a different story of its creation.

    Historian tells new story about England’s venerated ‘Domesday Book’

    An Illinois historian tells a new story about England’s famous “Domesday Book” and what it tells us about the trauma of the Norman conquest.

  • The Illinois Indians of the late 1600s were not the beleaguered people that many historians have portrayed them to be, but instead were making an aggressive bid for power, says University of Illinois historian Robert Morrissey. And contrary to assumptions in many historical accounts of the period, their motivations had little to do with Europeans.

    Illinois Indians made a bid for power in early America, based on bison and slavery

    Most historical accounts describe the Illinois Indians of the late 1600s as a weak and beleaguered people, taking refuge in a settlement 80 miles southwest of present-day Chicago. The reality, however, is quite different, argues University of Illinois history professor Robert Morrissey, in the December issue of the Journal of American History. The Illinois, he says, were making “perhaps the most remarkable bid for power in 17th century native North America.”

  • Psychology professors Sanda Dolcos, left, and Florin Dolcos stand in an empty seating area in the Beckman Institute.

    Study: Religion, psychology share methods for reducing distress

    Religious people facing life crises rely on emotion-regulation strategies that psychologists also use, a new study finds. They look for positive ways of thinking about hardship, a practice known to psychologists as “cognitive reappraisal.” They also tend to have confidence in their ability to cope with difficulty, a trait called “coping self-efficacy.” Both have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

  • The major shift underway from broadcast and cable to streaming is also bringing targeted advertising to mainstream media, an Illinois professor says.

    Targeted ads are coming to mainstream media. Should we care?

    Targeted advertising is coming to mainstream media, says an Illinois professor of digital media, bringing concerns about equality, division and “total surveillance.”

  • Rat study reveals long-term effects of adolescent amphetamine abuse on the brain

    A study of rats given regular, high doses of amphetamine finds that those exposed to the drug at an age corresponding to human adolescence experience long-term changes in brain function that persist into adulthood.

  • U. of I. psychology professor Eva Pomerantz studies the factors that promote children’s motivation and achievement at school.

    How to foster children’s learning while sheltering at home

    Parents sheltering at home with their kids sometimes struggle to foster their children’s continued engagement with learning. Eva Pomerantz, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studies the factors that promote children’s motivation and achievement at school. She spoke to News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about her research on the topic and her own efforts to keep her children academically engaged while at home.

  • Photo of Ian Brooks, the director of the Center for Health Informatics

    Where does the U.S. withdrawal leave the World Health Organization?

    A global response, such as that organized by the World Health Organization, is needed to control the COVID-19 pandemic, says Ian Brooks, a research scientist whose focus is global health informatics.