Welcome to the February issue of the Social Sciences E-News
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New lecture series highlights social sciences research making a difference
Inaugural topics focus on applications of research in mind, brain and behavior; population and immigration; and local California politics
UCI social scientists investigate issues that matter to society, from the wiring of the brain to the cultural implications of the wiring of the planet. Their interdisciplinary research findings help spark innovative solutions to problems that impact the world around us. Whether it's the economy, transportation, family, social processes, the mind, international affairs, politics or culture, the work of UCI’s social scientists makes a difference.
With the launch of the school’s new expert speaker series, “Changing Perceptions, Making Connections,” we invite you to come learn how UCI social sciences research is making a difference in areas of mind, brain and behavior; population and immigration; and local California politics.
Mind, Brain and Behavior
February 4, 2010
Population & Immigration
March 18, 2010
April 29, 2010
All events will be held in Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Room 1517 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. with a reception preceding each discussion. Pictured: Cognitive scientists Alyssa Brewer and Jeff Krichmar, featured speakers at February 4 mind, brain and behavior discussion.
Cognitive scientist Charlie Chubb studies studies why visual perception process makes camouflage effective
Take a good look at the picture at right. Can you spot the two well concealed cuttlefish camouflaging themselves against their surroundings? If you can't, you’re not alone, says Charlie Chubb, UCI cognitive sciences professor.
“Human visual perception is very crude in terms of what it extracts from a scene,” he says. “Things we see are made up of many different textures and substances, but we summarize and simplify these substances using very few qualities. This makes the world we see dramatically different from the world that exists.” These shortcuts taken during the visual perception process are what make camouflage effective in tricking the eye and concealing what - or who - is really there.
With a newly awarded $420,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, he and cognitive scientist George Sperling are working to catalogue these elementary image properties sensed by human vision. The resulting “Table of the Dimensions of Preattentive Visual Sensitivity” as it is tentatively being called, will provide scientists with a conceptual framework for formulating theories about visual perception which, according to Chubb, has been missing from the field.
Chinese medicine goes global
Anthropology professor studies evolution of practice from tradition among rural poor to lucrative modern industry
Mei Zhan's travels have taken her from medical schools in Shanghai to acupuncture clinics in San Francisco. For the past decade, she has traced the transformation of traditional Chinese medicine from its roots among China's rural poor into a multibillion-dollar alternative-medicine industry. A UC Irvine associate professor of anthropology, Zhan discusses the global influences behind this transformation in her new book, Other-Worldly: Making Chinese Medicine Through Transnational Frames.
Neumark’s Minimum Wages earns Outstanding Title honors from Choice
Honor recognizes book as one of the most significant print and electronic works reviewed in the magazine in 2009
Economist David Neumark’s Minimum Wages has been named a 2009 Outstanding Academic Title by Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries. Drawing upon more than 15 years of minimum wage research and expertise, Neumark and co-author William L. Wascher present a comprehensive overview of the policy's distributive effects across different population groups. Their findings lead them to conclude that an increase yields no long term, net positive returns and inevitably plays out negatively for the economy in terms of creating a lower skilled pool of human capital. The Outstanding Title honor is awarded annually by Choice in recognition of the most significant print and electronic works reviewed in the magazine during the previous calendar year. In 2009, 652 titles received recognition.
Michael Montoya selected as UROP's Faculty Mentor of the Month
Honor recognizes the assistant professor for his commitment to mentoring undergraduates
Michael Montoya, anthropology and Chicano/Latino studies assistant professor, knows firsthand the important role a good mentor plays in guiding professional and personal growth. As an undergrad and later as a grad student at Stanford, he says he received excellent guidance and now he's passing the lessons he's learned along the way to the students he mentors at UCI. His efforts have earned him recognition as this month's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) Faculty Mentor of the Month.
SPOTLIGHT EVENT - Modeling Conflict and Its Governance
February 12-14, 2010
Using math models to explore potential effects of strategic decisions made during times of war and peace will be the topic of a three day conference hosted by the School of Social Sciences' Institute for Mathematical Behavior and Center for the Study of Democracy. Political scientists and economists from several UCs, Northwestern University, University of Iowa, Columbia University and Drexel will explore issues including: why conflict occurs and what its main risk factors are; which actions, if any, adversaries and outsiders can take to reduce the chance of conflict and induce peace; potential mechanisms for reducing armament costs during peacetime; and effects of the potential for conflict on international trade and trade policy.
Social Science Plaza A, Room 2112
SPOTLIGHT EVENT - FregeFest 2010
February 26-27, 2010
Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege was a German mathematician, logician, and philosopher who became famous for formalizing the notion of a mathematical proof in terms that are still accepted today. Every other year, UCI's Department of Logic & Philosophy of Science hosts a conference in his honor during which experts on Frege's work come together to present their current research.
Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Room 1517
SPOTLIGHT EVENT - Former Harvard dean and author of Bowling Alone talks religion at UCI
Friday, February 26, 2010 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
UCI Student Center, Emerald Bay Rooms A&B
Robert D. Putnam, Harvard public policy professor and author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, will discuss the changing role of religion in America at this year's Harry Eckstein Lecture, sponsored by the UCI Center for the Study of Democracy, Program in International Studies and Department of Political Science.
Established in 1999, the Eckstein Lecture recognizes Center for the Study of Democracy co-founder Harry Eckstein for his scholarly contributions to the study of democracy. Eckstein was a UCI political science distinguished professor from 1980 to 1993 and a political science distinguished research professor of political science from 1993 to 1999.