Social Scientists Examine Outcomes, Behaviors
UC Merced’s graduate emphasis in Social Sciences offers students the opportunity to build unique interdisciplinary research careers based in economics, political science, public health and sociology. By offering students the opportunity to collaborate with researchers in other disciplines, our program provides an environment where modern issues can be examined from multiple perspectives. Here’s a small sampling of the research explored by our faculty:
- Economist Alexander Whalley and environmental engineer Yihsu Chen have found that urban rail reduces carbon monoxide air pollution, which implies public health impacts not usually considered by policy makers.
- Sociologist Laura Hamilton recently published a study with a surprising outcome within the world of higher education. College students whose parents help pay their way are more likely to earn degrees but tend to have lower grade-point averages than their peers who do not.
- Political scientist Jessica Trounstine has found that constituent awareness and accountability play a significant role in the responsiveness of incumbents in office.
- Health psychologist Jan Wallander is part of an ongoing initiative in developing countries to reduce the occurrence of neurological disorders in infants born not breathing. He and his team teach the families of these infants how to play games like peek-a-boo consistently in a way that matches the child’s development, which they’ve found improves motor and cognitive skills.
Students pursuing graduate study in social sciences will be exposed to research opportunities that explore the hows and whys of societal issues in a way not usually found at other universities. Our researchers don’t just dissect outcomes, they explore the behaviors associated with those outcomes in a way that creates new knowledge on emerging and established topics of concern.