Published research/scholarship/creative work

Teachers’ growth mindset appears more important than warmth

Students tend to like friendly teachers, but they like those who believe they can improve even more, new research indicates. Students in a study still responded positively to instructors described as being cold but who also had a growth mindset, meaning they felt students’ ability in a subject could improve by working hard and trying […]

Polar bears unlikely to adapt to longer summers

More time stranded on land means greater risk of starvation for polar bears, a new study indicates. During three summer weeks, 20 polar bears closely observed by scientists tried different strategies to maintain energy reserves, including resting, scavenging and foraging. Yet nearly all of them lost weight rapidly: on average around 1 kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, per day. […]

Potential link found between high maternal cortisol, unpredicted birth complications

A snippet of hair can reveal a pregnant person’s stress level and may one day help warn of unexpected birth problems, a study indicates. Washington State University researchers measured the stress hormone cortisol in hair samples of 53 women in their third trimester. Of that group, 13 women who had elevated cortisol levels later experienced […]

Guide on how to use climate data to inform human adaptation

A framework for combining climate and social data could help scientists better support climate change adaptation ahead of future weather-related disasters. The Washington State University-led research draws on the expertise of climate and social scientists to show how data on different characteristics of climate variability can be used to study the effectiveness of various human […]

Tasmanian devil die‑off appears to be affecting genetics of fellow predator

Population declines in the Tasmanian devil, a top predator species, caused by a transmissible cancer, may be affecting the evolutionary genetics of a subordinate predator species, the spotted-tailed quoll, research published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution reports. Top predator declines are occurring globally and have cascading ecological effects, one of which is to reduce competition and […]

Pacific Northwest snowpack endangered by increasing heatwaves

Even in the precipitation-heavy Pacific Northwest, more frequent heatwaves are threatening a key source of water supply. A Washington State University study that intended to look at snow melting under a single, extreme event, the 2021 “heat dome,” instead revealed an alarming, longer-term rising trend of successive heatwaves melting snowpack earlier in the year.   […]

Exposure to soft robots decreases human fears about working with them

Seeing robots made with soft, flexible parts in action appears to lower people’s anxiety about working with them or even being replaced by them. A Washington State University study found that watching videos of a soft robot working with a person at picking and placing tasks lowered the viewers’ safety concerns and feelings of job […]

Aging societies more vulnerable to collapse

Societies and political structures, like the humans they serve, appear to become more fragile as they age, according to an analysis of hundreds of pre-modern societies. The study, which holds implications for the modern world, provides the first quantitative support for the theory that resilience of political states decreases over time. Triggers of societal collapse […]

WSU scientists highlight Northwest climate risks in national report

Wildfires and record heatwaves are just a couple climate change impacts that have already hit the Pacific Northwest — and there are likely to be more, according to a U.S. Government report. The 5th National Climate Assessment released this week paints a grim picture of the effects of human-caused climate change across the country but does […]

Cannabis users appear to be relying less on conventional sleep aids

Most people who reported using cannabis to get a good night’s rest in a recent study have quit using over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids all together. More than 80% of the 1,255 cannabis users surveyed for the Washington State University-led analysis reported no longer using over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids such as melatonin and benzodiazepines. […]