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College of Arts and Sciences Published research/scholarship/creative work

Examining how autism research can improve juvenile justice policies

Book cover: Law and Neurodiversity.A new book co-authored by Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Laurie A. Drapela offers guidance on how autism research can inform and improve juvenile justice policies in Canada and the United States. Both countries rely on decentralized systems of governance to craft and implement law and policy, but their treatment of » More …

Non-tobacco plant identified in ancient pipe for first time

Ancient smoking pipes.People in what is now Washington state were smoking Rhus glabra, a plant commonly known as smooth sumac, more than 1,400 years ago. The discovery, made by a team of WSU researchers, marks the first-time scientists have identified residue from a non-tobacco plant in an archeological pipe.

“The research casts doubt on the commonly held view that trade tobacco grown by Europeans overtook the use of natively-grown smoke plants after Euro-American contact,” said Shannon Tushingham, assistant professor of anthropology. » More …

Study indicates stereotypes can lead to workplace accidents

Pregnant woman.Fears of confirming stereotypes about pregnant workers as incompetent, weak or less committed to their job can drive pregnant employees to work extra hard, risking injury.

“The pregnancy stereotype is a silent stressor. It is not always visible, but it really impacts women in the workplace,” said Lindsey Lavaysse (’20 PhD), lead researcher for WSU recent study of pregnant women in physically demanding jobs. » More …

E-DNA detection could cut pathogens in pet trade

Salamander.As SARS-CoV-2 puts new focus on zoonotic pathogens, WSU disease ecology researcher Jesse Brunner  has developed a method using environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect disease in the vast international trade of aquatic animals.

The problem with monitoring the pet trade is one of magnitude: every year more than 225 million live animals are imported into the U.S. alone, with the majority destined for » More …

Psychologists study cannabis, PTSD relief connection

Cannabis leaf.According to a recent study led by Carrie Cuttler, assistant professor of psychology, people suffering from post‑traumatic distress disorder report that cannabis reduces the severity of their symptoms by more than half, at least in the short term.

Cuttler and her colleagues analyzed data of more than 400 people who tracked changes in their PTSD symptoms before and after cannabis use with Strainprint, an app developed to help » More …

Flattening the curve with jazz

A screenshot of jazz musicians in a Zoom meeting.The WSU Jazz Big Band isn’t letting the global pandemic get in the way of delivering excellent big band entertainment. The award-winning group, directed by Regents Professor Greg Yasinitsky, put technology to the test to produce a video of the aptly titled composition, “Flatten That Curve.”

In addition to the quality of the music, what makes the performance fascinating to watch is » More …

Writing, currency fueled ancient society growth

The Parthenon.When it comes to the great civilizations of human history, the pen really might have been mightier than the sword.

“There’s a fundamental relationship that exists between the way in which societies process information and how large they are able to become,” said Tim Kohler, WSU an archaeologist and a corresponding author of an international study that shows the ability to store and process information was as critical to the growth of early human societies as it is today. “Early innovations in information processing such as writing and coinage » More …

Research opens a new approach to mental illness

Silhouette of someone on a bench with hands held to head.Some of the most common mental disorders, including depression, anxiety and PTSD, might not be disorders at all, according to a recent paper by WSU biological anthropologists.

The researchers propose a new approach to mental illness that would be informed by human evolution, noting that modern psychology, and in particular its use of drugs like antidepressants, has largely failed to reduce the prevalence of mental disorders. For example, the global prevalence of » More …

Too hot for habitation: archeology and climate change

The Sahara Desert.Areas of the planet home to one-third of humans will become as hot as the hottest parts of the Sahara within 50 years, unless greenhouse gas emissions fall, according to research by scientists from China, United States (at WSU) and Europe The rapid heating would mean that 3.5 billion people would live outside the climate ‘niche’ in which humans have thrived for 6,000 years. » More …

Amphibian study shows stress increases vulnerability

Some frog.Even the anti-freeze frog is not invulnerable to stress, according to a new study led by WSU biological sciences researchers.

“We’re seeing these mass mortality events in wildlife that are often due to infectious diseases; while at the same time, we notice an association with some kind of environmental change,” said Emily Hall, the lead author on the study, which was part of her PhD dissertation. » More …