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  • 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

  • History professor Leslie Reagan

    Vietnam War at 50: What has been the legacy of Agent Orange?

    A historian looks at the Vietnam War herbicide Agent Orange and how it changed ideas about war wounds and the cause of birth defects.

  • Travis Dixon is a professor of communication at Illinois whose research deals with stereotypes in the mass media and their impact.

    Is it possible to overcome our biases in the face of conflict?

    Our biases, conscious and unconscious, influence how we process news of events like the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, and the media plays an important part in forming and reinforcing those biases, says Travis Dixon, a professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Group homes appear to double delinquency risk for foster kids, study says

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Group homes are generally the placement of last resort for children in foster care, and also one of the most expensive options for state child-welfare agencies.

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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.

  • University of Illinois psychology professor Brent Roberts and his colleagues reviewed more than 200 studies of therapeutic interventions – such as counseling or the use of antidepressant drugs – which also tracked personality over time.

    Counseling, antidepressants change personality (for the better), team reports

    A review of 207 studies involving more than 20,000 people found that those who engaged in therapeutic interventions were, on average, significantly less neurotic and a bit more extraverted after the interventions than they were beforehand.

  • 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.

  • Professor Kevin Leicht

    What does the tax reform bill mean for the middle class?

    The current tax bill fits with a 30-year trend that doesn’t favor income from work, says sociologist Kevin Leicht

  • 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.

  • Researchers, from left, Sanda Dolcos, Florin Dolcos and Paul Bogdan

    Study: People expect others to mirror their own selfishness, generosity

    New research shows that a person’s own behavior is the primary driver of how they treat others during brief, zero-sum-game competitions. Generous people tend to reward generous behavior and selfish individuals often punish generosity and reward selfishness – even when it costs them personally. The study found that an individual’s own generous or selfish deeds carry more weight than the attitudes and behaviors of others.

  • 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 architecture professor Benjamin Bross

    How will public spaces change as result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

    Pandemics have changed our physical spaces throughout history, but changes made as a result of COVID-19 may not be long-lasting, says Illinois architecture professor Benjamin Bross.

  • University of Illinois psychology professor Brent Roberts and his colleagues found that early life career choices are associated with shifts in personality.

    Study: Early career choices appear to influence personality

    In the state of Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, 16-year-old students in middle-track schools decide whether to stay in school to pursue an academic career or enroll in a vocational training program. A new study offers evidence that the path they choose influences their personality years later.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • U. of I. anthropology professor Stanley Ambrose

    Ancient African herders had lasting ecological impact on grazed lands

    Ancient animal herders added to the ecological richness and diversity of the African savanna thousands of years ago – an effect that persists to the present day, a new study finds. The herders’ practice of penning their cattle, goats and sheep at night created nutrient-rich grassy glades, called hotspots, that still attract wildlife and have increased habitat diversity in the region, researchers report in the journal Nature.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 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.

  • Photo of professor Allen Barton in a building on the U. of I. campus

    Study shows the power of 'thank you' for couples

    Gratitude may be a powerful tool for couples, increasing relationship satisfaction and protecting against common stressors, says research by human development and family studies professor Allen W. Barton.

  • christopher benson

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

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

  • 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 recreation, sport and tourism professor Liza Berdychevsky

    People who viewed sex as a leisure activity enjoyed more, better sex during the pandemic

    People who viewed sex as a leisure activity used their pandemic downtime to engage in more  frequent, creative and satisfying sex, U. of I. professor Liza Berdychevsky found in a recent survey. 

  • '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

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Portrait of the researcher outdoors.

    Vigilantism is an identity for some people, researchers report

    A new study finds that some people routinely monitor the behavior of others and are eager to punish those who violate laws or societal norms, especially when they believe authorities have failed to do so. These self-appointed enforcers willingly embrace the job of keeping order, aren’t particularly concerned about accidentally punishing innocent people, and consider themselves kind and moral actors, the researchers found.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 the research team

    Youths with diverse gender identities bullied up to three times more often than peers, study finds

    Transgender youths are victimized as much as three times more often than students who identify as male or female, according to a study led by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign social work professor Rachel Garthe.