In the News

UBC Reports | Vol. 52 | No. 12 | Dec. 7, 2006

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in November 2006

Compiled By Basil Waugh

Just Thinking About Money Can Turn the Mind Stingy

Scores of international media, including the New York Times, ran an Associated Press report on UBC research that found that merely showing money to people can change their behaviour.

In a series of experiments, Miranda Good, a graduate student in marketing at UBC and co-author of a study published in the journal Science, found that subconscious reminders of money prompted people to become more independent in their work, and less likely to seek help from others or to provide it. They became reluctant to volunteer their time and stingy when asked to donate to a worthy cause.

O.J. Outrage

UBC Psychology Prof. Don Dutton appeared in interviews on CNN and CNN Headline News about public outrage over O.J. Simpson’s now-cancelled book and TV special, which explore how — hypothetically — Simpson would have committed the 1994 slayings of his wife Nicole and waiter Ron Goldman.

Dutton has served as an expert witness in criminal trials involving family violence, including Simpson’s pre-trial, where he testified for the prosecution, and the subsequent civil trial, where Dutton acted as a consultant.

“Simpson’s not doing it out of guilt because he was quite capable at rationalizing — from cheating at golf to up to a double homicide,” said Dutton. “I think he’s much more likely doing it because of his narcissistic personality, a sense of entitlement and his desire to be in the limelight — having a little bit of money on the side probably doesn’t hurt either.”

Teens Online up to 8 Hours a Day

Media across Canada, including the Globe and Mail, the National Post and CityTV reported on studies on teen Internet use by Jennifer Shapka, UBC Professor of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education.

In the first study in Canada to directly monitor the online activities of young teens, Shapka found that some spend up to eight hours per day online. She will be tracking 500 young people in 400 households through 2009 to determine how Internet use affects cognitive development, social skills and obesity rates.

Shapka wants to study whether the Internet helps or hinders children’s social development, and if children who spend a lot of time online are lonely, depressed or shy. She will also explore whether children who use online instant messaging are safer than those who visit social-networking sites. 

Still Time to Donate!

As the 2006 UBC United Way Campaign draws to a close this month, donors and volunteers are continuing their support for this expression of Trek 2010’s commitment to global citizenship and building a sustainable and civil society.

“With over $331,300 raised, we have achieved 86 per cent of our fundraising goal to support social programs and services,” says Andrew Parr, Director of Food Services and UBC Vancouver campaign chair. “With the support of staff, faculty and students, we are optimistic that we will reach or exceed our target. We also hope to increase campus participation by 100 new donors.”

UBC Okanagan’s campaign, chaired by Terry Flannigan, has raised more than 90 per cent of its $30,000 goal.

With 54 presentations under his belt, Loaned Representative Andy Carr, UBC Plant Operations, has been busy spreading awareness about United Way and its many connections to UBC.

“For more than 75 years United Way have been shepherds in our community, working to identify its social needs and helping to address them through fundraising and other initiatives,” says Carr. “Eighty-nine cents of every dollar raised goes directly to programs in over 400 local agencies.”

Donation pledge forms will be accepted until the end of the tax year, Dec. 31, but only those received before Dec. 13 will be eligible for the grand prize draw of two Air Canada tickets to anywhere in North America, plus other great prizes.

For more information on the campaign, visit or call Kate Petrusa at 604.822.8929 (UBC Vancouver) or Elizabeth Kershaw at 250.807.8436 (UBC Okanagan).