In the news

Highlights of UBC media coverage in February 2013

U.S. belief in climate change shifts with weather

Public opinion on climate change varies with the temperature, suggests a UBC study. In an analysis of media coverage, researchers found that a cold snap can lead to skepticism over climate change whereas a hot spell can increase concern over climate change, reported the BBC, United Press International, CBC, Vancouver Sun and others.

“Our findings help to explain some of the significant fluctuations and inconsistencies in U.S. public opinion on climate change,” researcher Simon Donner said. “The study demonstrates just how much local weather can influence people’s opinions on global warming.”

Body language can predict outcomes for recovering alcoholics

In a study of alcoholics and relapse rates, researchers studied the body language of recovering alcoholics and found that those who expressed shame, were more likely to start drinking again. The study is the first to link physical signs of shame to predictions of relapse, reported Time, CTV National News, Global, Huffington Post, Toronto Star and others.

UBC psychology professor Jessica Tracy said the amount of shame displayed is also directly tied to the number of drinks an alcoholic will have on that first binge after giving up sobriety.

“The more shame they showed, the more likelihood they were to relapse and relapse with a large number of drinks instead of smaller amounts,” said Daniel Randles, a PhD student who conducted the study with Tracy.

Bilingual babies know their grammar by seven months

Babies born into bilingual households can learn to distinguish the grammatical structures of two different languages  at a young age, finds a new study by UBC Prof. Janet Werker and Prof. Judit Gervain of the Université Paris Descartes, reported the Daily Telegraph, The Economist, Globe and Mail, Yahoo News, Times of India and several others.

Babies use signs like pitch and duration of sounds to keep two languages separate by just 7 months.  The findings help debunk the misconception that bilingual infants face disadvantages in language development.

“There are a lot of cues just at the surface level in language that babies can use to get a leg up,” said Werker, who reported her findings at the 2013 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Davis Cup at UBC

Canada made tennis history at UBC’s Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre when the team beat Spain in the first round of the Davis Cup. The Davis Cup will return to UBC in April when Canada takes on Italy in the quarter-finals.

The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Canadian Press, Vancouver Sun and many others reported on the event and the announcement that the tournament would be returning.

“We’ve really focused on creating an environment that will be rowdy and raucous to show our support for the team,” said Kavie Toor, associate director of facilities and business development for UBC Athletics and Recreation, to CBC’s Early Edition before the tournament against Spain began in  early February.