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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.
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

New research sheds light on potentially negative effects of cannabis

Carrie Cuttler.
Cuttler

Coughing fits, anxiety and paranoia are three of the most common adverse reactions to cannabis, according to a recent study led by Washington State University Assistant Professor of Psychology Carrie Cuttler.

Cuttler and her graduate students surveyed more than 1,500 college students on the type and frequency of adverse reactions they had experienced while using cannabis for their study in the Journal of Cannabis Research. They also collected information on the students’ demographics, personality traits, cannabis use patterns and motives for using the drug.

Cuttler and her graduate students found the most frequently occurring adverse reactions were coughing fits, chest/lung discomfort, and body humming, which a subset of the study group reported occurring approximately 30-40% of the time they were using cannabis.

Moving forward, Cuttler hopes the results of the study will be put to use by doctors, medical cannabis distributors and even bud tenders to give people a better idea of what could go wrong when they get high.

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Mirage News
Science Daily
Big Think
Drugs.com
The Growth Op

Mothering a Book: Recollections of a WSU Author

Melanie-Angela Neuilly
Neuilly

In her 2019 edited book Mothering From the Field: The Impact of Motherhood on Site-Based Research, WSU criminal justice associate professor Melanie-Angela Neuilly collected the experiences of academic researchers and mothers conducting their fieldwork while raising children. Neuilly’s own experience of juggling site work and motherhood in Nice, France, in 2014 is also chronicled.

Neuilly said she came to the book somewhat circuitously: In 2013, she obtained a WSU Seed Grant to conduct ethnographic field observations at a medico-legal institute in Nice. However, Neuilly was obtaining her green card then, and in the midst of a somewhat risky pregnancy. She got a no-cost extension on the grant and conducted her research in the summer of 2014, with her 3-month-old daughter and husband.

Neuilly’s book also includes two other WSU voices: Lindsay Marco, a doctoral student in counseling psychology, and Kimberly Garland-Campbell, a geneticist in wheat breeding in the USDA-ARS Wheat Health, Genetics and Quality Research Unit.

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WSU Insider

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.
Neumann
Masha Maria Gartstein.
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

Showcase faculty, staff award winners announced

Eight members of CAS faculty were among faculty and staff selected for University-wide, Showcase 2020 awards, which recognize their scholarly achievements and professional acumen. They are:

Katie Cooper.Association for Faculty Women Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award
Catherine “Katie” Marguerite Cooper
School of the Environment

 

Donald Matteson.Emeritus Society Legacy of Excellence Award
Don Matteson
Professor Emeritus of Chemistry

 

Kimberly Christen.Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award
Kim Christen
Digital Technology and Culture Program/Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation

 

Janet Peters.
Peters
Chris Dickey.
Dickey

President’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Instructors and Clinical Faculty
Janet M. Peters
Department of Psychology
Chris Dickey
School of Music

Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award – Leadership
Stephen Bollens
School of Biological Sciences and School of the Environment/Meyer’s Point Environmental Field Station

 

Cheryl Schulz.Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award – Outreach & Engagement
Cheryl B. Schultz
School of Biological Sciences

 

Greg Yasinitsky.Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award – Research, Scholarship & Arts
Gregory W. Yasinitsky
School of Music

 

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WSU Insider