Politics & Society

Documentary film explores Richland, Washington’s complex heritage

In her award-winning documentary “Richland,” Irene Lusztig drew heavily upon the expertise of Robert Franklin, history professor at WSU Tri-Cities and assistant director and archivist for the Hanford History Project. The film, which investigates a community that created an identity, and future, on a type of “nuclear origin story,” opened at the Tribeca film festival in New York […]

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 […]

Foley Institute focuses on election integrity

Washington State University’s Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service is joining more than three dozen nonpartisan political institutes nationwide in helping promote election integrity and civic understanding as the United States prepares for next year’s presidential races. “The deeply concerning rise in threats of violence and harassment directed at election administrators and […]

WSU faculty selected to speak across state as Foley Fellows

Five Washington State University faculty have been selected to the 2024-2025 Foley Speaker Fellows for the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau program. The five are among the more than 30 speakers who will be available for speaking engagements across the state, providing free public presentations on science, politics, music, philosophy, spiritual traditions and more, in dozens of communities beginning […]

WSU anthropologist edits special journal issue on cultural climate adaptation

Human communities across the globe have a long history of generating effective solutions to climate change, and many of these often-little-known cultural adaptations could prove useful today.  That’s according to a new special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, edited by Washington State University anthropologist Anne Pisor. The special issue brings together a […]

Preschoolers show cultural differences in generosity, competitiveness

In a set of sharing experiments, Spanish-speaking Latino preschoolers were more likely to choose options that would be more generous to others, even over a more equal sharing choice. Their English-speaking peers in the Washington State University study more often chose the most competitive option, one that advantaged themselves over others. The most competitive among […]

Faster postal service linked to better voter turnout

A more efficient U.S. Postal Service can increase voter turnout in all states regardless of their mail voting laws, according to a Washington State University study. WSU researcher Michael Ritter analyzed election data from 2012 through 2020, when the pandemic encouraged many more people than usual to vote by mail. He found that in general […]

Pandemic pushed half-million kids into grandparents’ homes

Grandparents appeared to serve as an important private safety net when COVID‑19 first hit the U.S., according to a study led by a Washington State University researcher. The pandemic’s arrival in 2020 coincided with a surge of nearly 510,000 children living in “doubled‑up” households, co‑residing with other adults in addition to their parents or parents’ partners. […]

Tracking online political ads improves with new research methodology

It’s not politics as usual since the advent of digital marketing. And because these platforms are largely unregulated, it’s difficult to track who is behind the unprecedented amounts of money being spent on social media and other online platforms to influence voter behavior across the United States. Washington State University political scientist Travis Ridout is part of […]