Skip to main content

Faculty Research News

Health care stereotype threat stemming from commonly held beliefs about unhealthy lifestyle choices can jeopardize care outcomes, according to a study by Cleopatra Abdou of psychology.

Health Care Stereotype Threat

October 30, 2015

Warning: Stereotypes may be harmful to patients’ health. A national study led by USC Dornsife’s Cleopatra Abdou found that people who encountered the threat of being judged by negative stereotypes related to…

According to psychology professor Donna Spruijt-Metz, who researches ways to combat childhood obesity, Halloween offers parents an opportunity to talk to their kids about healthful eating.

Tricky Treating on Halloween

October 30, 2015

When Donna Spruijt-Metz was young, her mother would sit down with her after trick-or-treating on Halloween and help her sort her candy. “We had a joke about how she loved the mini-Hershey bars, so she would negotiate…

Confronted by odd moments of “cultural disinfluency,” people perform better on cognitive reasoning tests and are less likely to buy things. Photo: iStock.

Shocked into Clarity

October 29, 2015

Halloween-decorated plates at a Labor Day party. A bride in a green gown with her groom in a purple tuxedo and no wedding party. An obituary that declares of the deceased: “Regina had no hobbies, made no contribution to…

Earthquakes and other disasters — both natural and man-made — pose a significant threat to lives and economies around the Pacific Rim. Photo courtesy of Walter D. Mooney/USGS.

Pacific Preparedness

October 23, 2015

Not far from Tokyo’s Imperial Palace, an alarm pierces the air. At a nearby elementary school, hundreds of children drop to the floor, scramble beneath their desks and hold on for dear life. It’s March 9, 2012, two…

Hanna Damasio and Antonio Damasio receive Doctor Honoris Causa degrees at a formal ceremony held at the Sorbonne in Paris on Sept. 17. Photos by Julien Hay.

French Honors

October 22, 2015

Two USC Dornsife professors have received honorary degrees from the Université Paris Descartes — more widely known as the Sorbonne — for their pioneering work in psychology. University Professor Antonio…

The emotion of gratitude is important in social behavior, according to the study’s senior author. Photo courtesy of iStock.

Tracking Gratitude

October 20, 2015

Neuroscientists have mapped how the human brain experiences gratitude with help from an unexpected resource: the testimonies of Holocaust survivors. “In the midst of this awful tragedy, there were many acts of bravery…

During a 27-year career at USC Dornsife, Professor Emeritus of International Relations Abraham Lowenthal combined his academic career with institution building.

Learning from Experience

October 20, 2015

“A transition from authoritarian rule requires every group to understand that it cannot demand everything it wants. That is a transition: talking with those who think differently, even if they have been…

Gridlock Solvers

Gridlock Solvers

October 8, 2015

It probably does not come as a major shock that results of a USC Dornsife/California Community Foundation/Los Angeles Times poll released Oct. 7 reveal traffic and congestion to be the point of greatest concern among L.A.…

NASA scientists recently announced data suggesting that there may be liquid water on Mars. Photo courtesy of NASA.

Shining Light on Mars

October 6, 2015

The red planet made a splash in the media this past week, due to the combined efforts of Ridley Scott’s film The Martian and NASA’s announcement of new evidence for the existence of water flowing on the surface of…

Oxidative stress brought about by free radicals lends to the aging process, according to Kelvin Davies of biological sciences and gerontology.

Good Stress

October 1, 2015

Oxygen, while necessary for life, has a dark side. With every breath taken, free radicals form, and these damaging molecules can wreak havoc in the body. The process is called oxidative stress. Kelvin Davies, James E. Birren…