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College of Arts and Sciences research

Interdisciplinary research on origins of behavior

Parents with an infant.Funded by grant from the National Science Foundation, scientists in WSU’s Department of Psychology and Department of Human Development are launching a four-year study of babies’ emotional reactions and responses, seeking a greater understanding of how humans develop safe and unsafe behaviors.

Researchers will study infants’ approach and avoidance behaviors, to understand how they develop in emerging brain » More …

Hiding in plain sight

Carla Olman.For many years, she never spoke about World War II.  “It was too difficult. You try to forget. You try to go on with life.”

But by the time 91-year-old Carla Olman Peperzak met Raymond Sun, a WSU associate professor of history, the former teenage operative in the Dutch Resistance had dedicated the rest of her life to telling her story.

“Her generation is disappearing very, very rapidly,” Sun says. “We’re really running out of these witnesses. There’s some sense of urgency to » More …

WSU research behind potential Alzheimer’s drug

Leen Kawas and Joe Harding.It was 1991 and medicinal chemist Joe Harding was in his lab researching potential new options for relieving high blood pressure. Anomalies kept showing up in his lab tests, and if they meant what he thought they might, he and his research partner, WSU psychology professor John (Jay) Wright, were on the brink of a different breakthrough.

“I kept getting phone calls from Joe, and on each one he was more excited,” recalls Wright, who at the time was » More …

Facebook political ads more partisan, less negative than TV

A computer screen displaying Facebook's login page.More political candidates may be shifting primarily to social media to advertise rather than TV, according to a study of advertising trends led by WSU political science professor Travis Ridout. Looking at the 2018 campaign season, Ridout and his colleagues also found that Facebook political ads were more partisan, less negative and less issue-focused than those on TV.

“The 2018 race showed that social media can be helpful to candidates who may not have a lot of resources, including challengers and those who are not already well known,” said Ridout, a corresponding author on » More …

Undergraduate fellowships support research, creative work

College of Arts and Sciences - Washington State University.The WSU Office of Undergraduate Research named 12 CAS students as recipients of four different fellowships for 2020-21. Each will receive funding to support of mentored research, scholarship and creative activities for the 2020-21 academic year.

“In addition to the long-established Auvil and Carson undergraduate research awards and the NSF-funded Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), we received additional support this year from an anonymous donor. This made it possible to support » More …

Examining risks, benefits of breastfeeding during COVID-19

Woman with infant. COVID-19 has brought with it new questions related to the benefits and/or potential risks of breastfeeding during this pandemic. Is the SARS-COV2 virus present in breast milk and could it be transmitted from mom to baby? Could antibodies found in breast milk actually help protect babies from the SARS-COV2 virus?

Researchers at WSU are leading a new nationwide study on COVID-19 and infant feeding to help answer these questions. Their work could ultimately help scientists better understand how COVID-19 affects the health and immune responses of mothers and » More …

High-resolution X-ray spectrometer coming to Pullman

WSU spirit mark.The WSU Nuclear Science Center, in collaboration with the Department of Chemistry and the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, will acquire a new high-resolution X-ray spectrometer to perform both X-ray absorption and emission spectroscopy.

The high-resolution X-ray spectrometer will benefit analytical chemistry and materials science research at WSU by providing the means to perform more accurate measurements of materials found in spent nuclear fuels, nuclear waste forms, and fuel materials. » More …

Bear butter: Studying tiny moths as a rich food source

Grizzly bear and cub.A team of international scientists led by a WSU graduate student are trekking the high peaks of the greater Glacier National Park ecosystem this summer to better understand a tiny but important food source for grizzly bears—the army cutworm moth.

Erik Peterson, a master’s student in the School of the Environment, partnered with WSU professor Daniel Thornton and seven colleagues to collect data, map, and model the alpine habitats where grizzlies forage on moths by the thousands, finding calorie-rich meals in » More …

Sniffing out patterns

Jaime Chambers.Dogs and humans have been inseparable for many millennia. Dogs eat, sleep, play, and work with us in relationships so intimate that we call them people, family members, and, as novelist Spencer Quinn puts it, members of “a nation within a nation.” Or so it would seem to your typical American dog owner.

In fact, says WSU anthropology graduate student Jaime Chambers, “the ways we interact with dogs are extremely varied” once you start looking at the relationship across cultures. » More …

Field work yields science and cultural understanding

Boersma and friends,Iridescent little fairywrens drew doctoral student Jordan Boersma to the grasslands of Papua New Guinea, but it was the unexpected generosity of the people that captured the researcher’s heart.

“I’ve traveled all over Asia and never experienced this level of hospitality. If you accept their culture, they’ll really take you in and look after you,” he says.

Hubert Schwabl, professor in the WSU School of Biological Sciences, says Boersma is one of the rare students who is able » More …