Social Science

  • NSF RAPID grant awarded for study of how anxiety affects the spread of COVID-19 information

    Thursday, Apr 2, 2020
    by Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research

    Princeton researchers have been awarded a National Science Foundation RAPID grant to study how anxiety about COVID-19 influences how we learn and share information about the pandemic.

    The NSF's Rapid Response Research (RAPID) program funds proposals that require quick-response research on disasters and unanticipated events.

    What the researchers find could help inform the design of campaigns to enhance communication of accurate information and decrease misinformation during times of crisis.

  • Multi-year datasets suggest projecting outcomes of people’s lives with AI isn't so simple

    Tuesday, Mar 31, 2020
    by B. Rose Huber, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

    The machine learning techniques scientists use to predict outcomes from large datasets may fall short when it comes to projecting the outcomes of people’s lives, according to a mass collaborative study led by researchers at Princeton.

    Published by 112 co-authors in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the results suggest that sociologists and data scientists should use caution in predictive modeling, especially in the criminal justice system and social programs.

  • Poor people experience greater financial hardship in areas where income inequality is greatest

    Monday, Mar 30, 2020
    by B. Rose Huber, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

    While some are relying on friends and neighbors to help them get groceries, the poor may need to put themselves at risk for COVID-19 by venturing out on public transportation to get supplies. Depending on where they live, they may trust no one else to help out.

    This is true in areas in the United States with the highest levels of income inequality, where the poor are less likely to rely on their community for support due to shame or embarrassment, according to a paper to be published in Nature Human Behaviour.

  • New study identifies Neanderthal ancestry in African populations and describes its origin

    Thursday, Jan 30, 2020
    by Aaron Wolf, Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics

    After sequencing the Neanderthal genome, scientists discovered all present day non-African individuals carry some Neanderthal ancestry in their DNA. Now, researchers at Princeton University present evidence of Neanderthal ancestry in African populations too, and its origin provides new insights into human history.

  • No laboratory needed: The Person Project mines social science data with secure online activities

    Tuesday, Jan 7, 2020
    by Morgan Tucker, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

    Understanding the human psyche is complex, for ordinary people and scientists alike. Now, researchers at Princeton University have created a new tool for social scientists to study human psychology through a series of fun, thought-provoking activities.

    Launched this month, the Person Project website and smartphone app (available for both iPhone and Android) are designed to encrypt and store securely collected data from users who participate in these activities, providing an online platform for researchers to use in academic studies. 

  • Origin story: Rewriting human history through our DNA

    Wednesday, Dec 18, 2019
    by Tom Garlinghouse for the Office of the Dean for Research

    For most of our evolutionary history — for most of the time anatomically modern humans have been on Earth — we’ve shared the planet with other species of humans. It’s only been in the last 30,000 years, the mere blink of an evolutionary eye, that modern humans have occupied the planet as the sole representative of the hominin lineage.

  • Genes, the social environment and adolescent smoking

    Monday, Sep 16, 2019
    by Tom Garlinghouse, Office of Communications

    Adolescence is a time of dramatic change. It marks a period of significant physical transformation — such as the drive toward sexual maturity. But it can also be a time of considerable psychological change and social experimentation.


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