Skip to main content

Research News

Identity-based motivation helps students see their difficulties with school as signs that schoolwork is important, which in turn can improve academic performance, according to USC Dornsife researchers.

Digital game aims to motivate students

January 22, 2016

A USC professor’s program to motivate children to achieve success in school and at work will soon be translated into a digital game to help more students succeed academically. USC Dean’s Professor of Psychology…

The default-mode network of the brain shows increased activity when subjects read stories that deal with their core values. Image courtesy of Sarah Gimbel/USC.

Deep thinking in the brain may be spurred by stories with moral quandaries

January 11, 2016

Everyone has at least a few non-negotiable values. These are the things that, no matter what the circumstance, you’d never compromise for any reason — such as “I’d never hurt a child,” or…

Archaeology at El Zotz

USC Dornsife archaeologist discovers Maya royal burial

January 7, 2016

Thomas Garrison was four hours away from camp down a bumpy jungle road — headed into the city to get treated for poisonwood exposure — when he got the call from his co-director Edwin Román. “You need…

Herzliya is located on the central coast of Israel, one of the world's most rapidly aging nations.

Psychology’s Mara Mather to teach course in new partnership with Israeli institute

January 6, 2016

Come spring, students will have an opportunity to study gerontology subjects in the home of one of the world’s most rapidly aging populations: Israel. Professor Mara Mather, who holds joint appointments at USC Dornsife…

Top 5 videos of the year

Top 5 videos of the year

December 30, 2015

From student move-in day on campus to emerging presidential candidate poll numbers to an analysis of Abraham Lincoln’s physique, USC Dornsife videos covered a range of fascinating topics in an entertaining and…

Our Top 10 stories from 2015

Our Top 10 stories from 2015

December 29, 2015

   10 — A rescue mission Alumnus Jamie Brisbin, a participant in the USC Wrigley Institute’s “Catalina Semester” program, today works as a pararescueman for the U.S. Air Force Special…

Anxiety raises risk of dementia, psychology researchers find

Anxiety raises risk of dementia, psychology researchers find

December 22, 2015

People who experienced high anxiety any time in their lives had a 48 percent higher risk of developing dementia compared to those who had not, according to a new study led by USC researchers. The findings were based on an…

This Leiopathes coral is estimated to be more than 4,200 years old.

Oceanic fossils suggest current climate models misrepresent El Niño

December 17, 2015

An analysis of fossil corals and mollusk shells from the Pacific Ocean reveals there is no link between the strength of seasonal differences and El Niño, a complex but irregular climate pattern with large impacts on…

Alarming or exciting moments are known as “emotionally arousing” events, and they can enhance or hinder our ability to make memories.

Why we remember — or forget — details of alarming moments

December 16, 2015

When someone walks down the street and is startled by a car accident, what determines whether they clearly remember the details of what they were doing prior to the crash? Paradoxically, such alarming or exciting moments…

USC Dornsife's Scott Kanoski studies the way the brain controls how and why we eat. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

‘Hunger hormone’ turns eating less into eating more

December 15, 2015

Looking to avoid overeating during those big holiday meals? You might want to avoid fasting in the days beforehand. Cycles of food restriction unleash a “hunger hormone” that increases the capacity to eat more…