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College of Arts and Sciences Politics & Society

Study finds minimal effect on major crime from legal marijuana sales

Plastic bag containing marijuana.Legalizing recreational marijuana has had minimal effect on violent or property crime rates in Washington and Colorado, a WSU study funded by the National Institute of Justice has found.

“As the nationwide debate about legalization, the federal classification of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act, and the consequences of legalization for crime continues, it is essential to center that discussion on studies that use contextualized and robust research designs » More …

Selfie versus posie

Closeup of Chris Barry holding two phones.If you lose sleep over how people perceive you on Instagram, you might want to think twice before posting that selfie. That’s the main takeaway from a new study in the Journal of Research in Personality by WSU psychologists.

The scientists conducted a novel experiment with hundreds of actual Instagram users to determine if there are certain types of self‑image posts that cause others to make snap judgements about the user’s personality. » More …

Helping non-violent offenders take the first step

View of a prison block from behind bars.Two criminal justice faculty members are playing key roles in a national effort to free thousands of non-violent prisoners and help them transition smoothly to civilian life.

The First Step Act signed into law late last year is designed to create a path to release for prisoners convicted of non-violent drug offenses. The prisoners earn credit for good behavior and are issued a risk profile based on a number of factors. That’s where WSU’s Zach Hamilton and Alex Kigerl come in. » More …

Who dominates the discourse of the past?

Shannon Tushingham and Tiffany Fulkerson.WSU researchers Tiffany Fulkerson and Shannon Tushingham set out to determine how a rapidly evolving demographic and professional landscape is influencing the production and dissemination of knowledge in American archaeology.

Their study, published in American Antiquity in July, found that women, who now make up half of all archaeologists in North America, and professionals working outside of a university setting » More …

Public support for environmental spending hinges on White House

Infographic showing public support for environmental spending Leveraging the power of data analytics, WSU sociologist Erik Johnson teased apart the opinions of more than 20,000 people over more than four decades and found support for environmental spending consistently plummeted during the administrations of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Democrats all.

Johnson made his discovery using a statistical analysis that looked at poll respondents in terms of their age, the time period in which they were surveyed and » More …

Renewable energy offers common ground for Democrats, Republicans

Solor panel farm in the desertAs the battle lines are drawn for next month’s hotly contested midterm elections, some Americans may be comforted to know there is at least one area of common ground for Democrats and Republicans: regardless of political standing, age or gender, U.S. voters are in favor of renewable energy, according to research by Christine Horne, professor of sociology.

Horne and Emily Kennedy, a former WSU sociology professor now at the University of British Columbia, are the authors of a new study in the journal Environmental Politics that shows while conservatives and liberals tend to disagree » More …

WSU’s Foley Institute joins National Civility Network

Setting the Table for CivilityPolitical polarization, decreasing trust in government, and rising populist rhetoric, have made political civility a hot-button topic. WSU’s Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service has been tackling this issue head-on for quite some time.

Pursuing that goal, Cornell Clayton, director of the Foley Institute, announced that the institute has joined the National Civility Network, a program of the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NIDC). » More …

Awards empower arts prof to pursue research, creativity in India

Io Palmer in the sculpture studioMixed-media sculptor and Washington State University associate professor of fine arts Io Palmer uses her artistic skills to explore complex social issues and her teaching skills to inspire future artists.

Inaugural recipient of the Berry Family Distinguished Professorship in Liberal Arts at WSU, Palmer recently received a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award and is preparing to deploy her diverse skills in new ways in a new environment. » More …

FBI data show positive policing changes after cannabis legalization

David MakinWSU researchers have found that marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington has not hurt police effectiveness. In fact, clearance rates for certain crimes have improved.

Clearance rates — the number of cases solved, typically by the arrest of a suspect — were falling for violent and property crimes in the two states before they authorized retail sales of marijuana late in 2012. The rates then improved significantly in Colorado and Washington while remaining » More …