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More of us need help. Why is it so hard to ask for, and how can we make it easier?

The reluctance to reach out for help is a common tendency, but it’s an important one to unpack during a pandemic. How can we make that easier?

The first step is to understand why it’s so hard to reach out.

Craig Parks.

Requesting assistance is also uncomfortable because it’s “an admission that you’ve lost control of your situation,” says Craig Parks, a professor of social psychology and a vice provost at Washington State University. “We really need to feel, at all times, like we control our situations and can determine what happens to us.”

Plus, it creates a feeling of indebtedness — you helped me, so now I owe you — even if the helper doesn’t expect this, Parks says. “Socially, there’s still going to be a lot of pressure on you to reciprocate in kind.”

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Washington Post

PHOTOS: A day on the pumice plain with biologist John Bishop

John Bishop.

A glimpse into a day in the life of Mount St. Helens researcher John Bishop who has studied the landscape’s transformation from decimation to revitalization since 1990, 10 years after the 1980 eruption. Bishop, a biologist with Washington State University Vancouver, has dedicated the better half of his professional career to studying the slow-growers and creepy-crawlies of the pumice plain. This collection of photographs documents one research day with Bishop and his students on the pumice plain during July 2019.

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The Daily News

If we’re all caught in a dangerous pandemic, where does the impulse to help others come from?

Why, when their own welfare is so clearly at stake, do people share resources or risk exposure to the virus to help others?

Craig Parks.

It comes down to the term “prosocial.” According to Craig Parks, a professor of social psychology and a vice provost at Washington State University, “ ‘Prosocial’ means that when you have a choice between acting in your personal best interests or acting in the best interest of the collective, that you opt for the latter.”

While looking out only for ourselves is sometimes extremely important, we have evolved to be concerned with the greater good. “Humans are naturally prosocial,” says Parks. “They had to be in order to survive.”

Imagine being a prehistoric man, hunting woolly mammoth. Alone, you might manage to kill the beast, but it would be difficult to protect the carcass from other predators. Form a multi-person hunting party, though, and “you’re not going to get nearly as much meat as if you hunted by yourself, but you’ve got a much greater chance of success and a much greater chance of living to see another day,” Parks says.

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Washington Post

Investigation into body cameras finds nagging challenges for UK police

An Engineering & Technology investigation finds gaps in research on the benefits of police body-worn cameras, as well as shortcomings in the reporting of complaints against officers wearing them.

David Makin.

David Makin, an associate professor and director of the Complex Social Interactions Lab at Washington State University, argues police forces may have the ability to purchase body-worn cameras yet few have the infrastructure to analyse the footage. If footage is not analysed, its value is limited: “Failure to integrate the technology into organisational practice will relegate it to a cost expenditure and not a cost benefit.”

Makin mentions another area of concern in the United States: the involvement of private companies. “There’s also a move towards having private companies taking over some of the administrative tasks, including providing redaction, transcription, and generally managing the data.” Trusting private companies with sensitive material can backfire, especially if it is not encrypted and held securely.

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Engineering & Technology

Where you live may influence your baby’s behavior

Infants from rural families tend to display negative emotions such as anger and frustration more frequently than their urban counterparts, according to a recent study in the Journal of Community Psychology.

Babies born in big cities, on the other hand, typically are less fussy and not as bothered by limits set by their caregivers.

Alyssa Neumann.
Masha Maria Gartstein.

The study, led by Washington State University psychologist Maria Gartstein and WSU graduate student Alyssa Neumann, examines differences in infant temperament, parent-child interactions and parenting stress between families of similar socioeconomic and racial composition in the Inland Northwest and the San Francisco Bay area.

The researchers found urban moms tend to be better at picking up on when their babies wanted or needed something, or were ready to be done with play, and responding accordingly. This in turn could have led to their infants generally being calmer and “This in turn could have led to their infants generally being calmer and less easily upset. Rural moms reported more frequent expressions of negative emotions from their infants, particularly when they were distressed due to limitations.

The results of Gartstein and Neumann’s work in many ways reflect the findings of previous research investigating differences in child-rearing practices between urban and rural families. However, unlike past studies, which have looked at the effects of living in an urban vs. rural environment on older children, Gartstein and Neumann’s analysis specifically focuses on infants.

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Mirage News

WSU Insider

Science Daily

Hindustan Times