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UBC Reports | Vol. 54 | No. 1 | Jan. 3, 2008

In the News

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in December 2007

Compiled by Julie-Ann Backhouse

UBC Psychology Researchers Shine in the New York Times

Two separate studies by UBC psychology researchers were included with 70 of the world’s most intriguing discoveries over the past 12 months for the New York Times Magazine’s “7th Annual Year in Ideas”.

In The God Effect, the New York Times Magazine highlighted findings by UBC Asst. Prof. Ara Norenzayan and PhD graduate Azim Shariff that people will act with greater altruism and generosity when they’re reminded of God or their civic responsibility. Their study was published in the September issue of Psychological Science journal and is available online at: www.psychologicalscience.org/media.

Also included in the New York Times Magazine, under Quitting Can Be Good for You, was research by UBC Psychology Assoc. Prof. Greg Miller and Concordia University’s Carsten Wrosch. Their study, published in the in the September issue of the journal Psychological Science, found that too much perseverance can be bad for your health. The research explored how teenage girls exhibit increased levels of the inflammatory molecule C-reactive protein (C.R.P.) if they continue striving for a hard-to-reach goal. In adults, C.R.P. is linked with diabetes, heart disease and early aging.

Preschool Curriculum Helps Performance

United Press International reported on a UBC study that says a preschool curriculum may help school performance and close the achievement gap between children of poor families and wealthier ones.

UBC Psychiatry Professor Adele Diamond was motivated by previous research which showed that children from lower-income families enter school with disproportionately poor executive functions skills and fall progressively farther behind in school each year.

Diamond led the first evaluation of the curriculum Tools of the Mind that focuses on improving executive functions including: inhibition, planning, time perception, working memory, self-monitoring, verbal self-regulation, regulation of emotion and motivation.

UBC Researchers Create First Biomechanical Model of a Feeding Fin Whale

UBC researchers have been tracking whales to determine exactly how they’re able to consume enough food to build their giant bodies. Jeremy Goldbogen, a PhD candidate at UBC’s Department of Zoology, and Robert Shadwick, zoology professor and Canada Research Chair, have created the first detailed biomechanical model of a feeding fin whale.
Working with Nick Pyenson, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, they applied basic laws of physics to detailed data and combined it with information about the size and shape of fin whale bodies. The scientists ended up with a surprisingly complete picture of what the whales do when they feed.

Their study was recently published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series and reported in The New York Times.

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Last reviewed 21-Dec-2007

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