News articles tagged with "social_science"

01/22/2014 09:59:48
Douglas Smith
Lance Edwin Davis, Caltech's Mary Stillman Harkness Professor of Social Science, Emeritus, passed away on Monday, January 20, 2014, at age 85. Davis was a pioneer of "cliometrics"—from Clio, the Greek muse of history—which applies modern economic theories and mathematical techniques to economic systems that no longer exist, such as the New England textile industry. These analyses required him to sift through the data buried in such things as whalers' logs from New Bedford, Massachusetts, or the records of the East India Company in order to test his hypotheses about how defunct industries and empires actually worked. "In the process," says Philip Hoffman, the Rea A. and Lela G. Axline Professor of Business Economics and professor of history, "economic history became part of economics and the whole field was remade." Davis was also instrumental in establishing Caltech's social science doctoral program, a combination of economics and political science with a uniquely mathematical approach.
06/04/2012 19:00:00
Katie Neith

A nuzzle of the neck, a stroke of the wrist, a brush of the knee—these caresses often signal a loving touch, but can also feel highly aversive, depending on who is delivering the touch, and to whom. Interested in how the brain makes connections between touch and emotion, neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have discovered that the association begins in the brain's primary somatosensory cortex, a region that, until now, was thought only to respond to basic touch, not to its emotional quality.

05/09/2012 16:00:00
Marcus Woo

In sports, on a game show, or just on the job, what causes people to choke when the stakes are high? A new study by researchers at Caltech suggests that when there are high financial incentives to succeed, people can become so afraid of losing their potentially lucrative reward that their performance suffers.

01/23/2012 08:00:00
Kimm Fesenmaier

Our cognitive abilities and decision-making skills can be dramatically hindered in social settings where we feel that we are being ranked or assigned a status level, such as classrooms and work environments, according to new findings from a team of researchers from Caltech and four other institutions. The finding flies in the face of long-held ideas about intelligence and cognition that regard IQ as a stable, predictive measure of mental horsepower. 

10/10/2011 07:00:00
Lori Oliwenstein

Researchers from Caltech have isolated a very specific difference in how high-functioning people with autism think about other people, finding that—in actuality—they don’t tend to think about what others think of them at all.

09/21/2011 16:00:00
Kimm Fesenmaier

When making decisions based on multiple interdependent factors—such as what combination of stocks and bonds to invest in—humans look at how the factors correlate with each other, according to a new study by researchers from Caltech and University College London.

09/09/2011 07:00:00
Katie Neith

Some people feel compelled to pet every furry animal they see on the street, while others jump at the mere sight of a shark or snake on the television screen. No matter what your response is to animals, it may be thanks to a specific part of your brain that is hardwired to rapidly detect creatures of the nonhuman kind. In fact, researchers from Caltech and UCLA report that neurons throughout the amygdala—a center in the brain known for processing emotional reactions—respond preferentially to images of animals.

07/26/2011 07:00:00
Lori Oliwenstein

Choosing what to have for dinner, it turns out, is a complex neurological exercise. But, according to researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), it's one that can be influenced by a simple shifting of attention toward the healthy side of life. And that shift may provide strategies to help us all make healthier choices—not just in terms of the foods we eat, but in other areas, like whether or not we pick up a cigarette.

02/10/2011 00:00:00
Lori Oliwenstein

Where does violence live in the brain? And where, precisely, does it lay down its biological roots? With the help of a new genetic tool that uses light to turn nerve cells on and off, a team led by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has tracked down the specific location of the neurons that elicit attack behaviors in mice, and defined the relationship of those cells to the brain circuits that play a key role in mating behaviors.

09/07/2010 23:00:00
Lori Oliwenstein

We've all heard the predictions: e-commerce is going to be the death of traditional commerce; online shopping spells the end of the neighborhood brick-and-mortar store. While it's true that online commerce has had an impact on all types of retail stores, it's not time to bring out the wrecking ball quite yet, says a team of researchers from Caltech.

 

05/26/2010 16:00:00
Kathy Svitil

The process of learning requires the sophisticated ability to constantly update our expectations of future rewards so we may make accurate predictions about those rewards in the face of a changing environment. Although exactly how the brain orchestrates this process remains unclear, a new study by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) suggests that a combination of two distinct learning strategies guides our behavior.

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