University of Notre Dame senior Taylor Thomas says she chose to major in psychology because it can help bring order to things that seem incomprehensible. “I’m interested in the ways we can explain systematically the very chaotic aspects of life.” In pursuing this interest, Thomas spent last summer studying how mothers who have experienced trauma engage their children in conversation.
Latest News » Research
Notre Dame students looking to investigate some of the pressing issues facing our country today can get support for their research through the American Dream Summer Grant program. Offered by the College of Arts and Letters’ Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the grant is available to both undergraduate and graduate students to conduct an original research or creative project exploring some aspect of the “American Dream.”
The University of Notre Dame’s Department of English has strengthened its expertise across the historical spectrum and the globe with five faculty appointments that span medieval literature, Modernism, and digital media.
Each year, approximately 30 percent of seniors in the College of Arts and Letters complete a yearlong thesis project, working one-on-one with a faculty member or graduate student to make an intellectual contribution to their chosen field of study.
When tragedies strike, how do we recover? Last summer, senior psychology major Benjamin Pfeifer moved closer to an answer, thanks to a research grant from the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.
Every democracy is a work in progress. The degree to which some succeed and others fall short is at the heart of what sociologist Robert Fishman explores in his research and teaching at Notre Dame.
Chris Abram, associate professor of English in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, is interested in the literary cultures of early medieval northern Europe. In this video, he discusses the large body of manuscripts found in Scandinavia written in Old Norse and what the stories within can tell us about pre-Christian culture.
Empowered and groundbreaking women are a family tradition for sociologist Joan Aldous, Notre Dame’s first full female endowed professor. Appointed William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Sociology at Notre Dame in 1976, Aldous retired on December 31, 2012. In that time, she became a leading expert in the sociology of the family and made a significant impact on sociology at Notre Dame.
The University’s world-renowned fencing program brought student-athlete Alex Coccia to Notre Dame. By the end of his freshman year, the junior Africana studies major helped bring fencing around the world—specifically, to a group of schoolchildren in Uganda.
Three University of Notre Dame professors have been awarded National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fellowships for 2013-14, bringing Notre Dame’s total number of NEH grants to 49 since 1999, more than any other university in the country. The University of Michigan is second to Notre Dame with 36 fellowships, followed by Harvard with 28, Princeton with 23 and the University of California at Berkeley with 21.
Jaehyun Jung spent the summer of her sophomore year interviewing Koreans who had lived through colonization, civil war, dictatorships, and democratization. It was not just a great academic experience, she says, it was also a personal journey. “I’m definitely even more proud of my heritage now.”
Researching, exploring, and seeking to understand other cultures are essential to anthropology—and a key part of a Notre Dame liberal arts education. Junior Greg Yungtum had the opportunity to do all of these things during a trip to Africa this past summer.
University of Notre Dame economist Joseph Kaboski has been awarded a $415,000 grant by the National Institutes of Health to lead a research project that will explore the poor’s motives and reasons for saving in developing countries. The study, now underway, is called “Unlocking the Black Box of Savings: Using Quantitative Theory and Microfinance” and will focus on the nation of Uganda, combining structural theory with experimental data.
Sandra Botero, a Ph.D. student in Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science, has won two prestigious fellowships to support her research on the policy outcomes of judicial decisions in Colombia and Argentina. Botero received an International Dissertation Research Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and a Dissertation Research Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for her project, “High Courts and Socioeconomic Rights in Latin America.”
Deborah Tor, an assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of History, has recently been awarded fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, N.J., and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Both awards recognize her research on the reign of the Great Seljuq Dynasty in the Islamic heartlands.
Notre Dame faculty member Stephen Dumont, a professor in the Department of Philosophy and a fellow of the Medieval Institute, has been awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for his book project, The Two Affections of the Will: From Anselm of Canterbury to John Duns Scotus.
University of Notre Dame Sociologist Elizabeth McClintock studies the impacts of physical attractiveness and age on mate selection and the effects of gender and income on relationships. Her research offers new insights into why and when Cupid’s arrow strikes.
“The day of studying the New Testament text alone is over—as well it should be,” says John Fitzgerald, a professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Theology. “As important as the New Testament text is, it comes to life only when it is placed within a community and a society of other people.” In this video, Fitzgerald discusses his research on early Christian society, including issues such as unemployment and domestic violence.
The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States has selected MurphyKate Montee as a Churchill Scholar for the academic year 2013-2014. Montee, a senior mathematics and music (voice) double major in the Glynn Family Honors Program, is one of just 14 students in the United States to receive this honor.
As French forces continue battling Islamist militants in Mali and the international policy community debates additional foreign intervention, the voices of those most affected by this political instability are rarely heard—until now. University of Notre Dame Political Scientist Jaimie Bleck, who specializes in Malian politics, has completed extensive research in Mali where she interviewed some 600 Malian villagers living on the border of rebel-claimed territory.
Catholics are less generous than other American Christians, according to a study recently published by the University of Notre Dame’s Catholic Social and Pastoral Research Initiative (CSPRI). “Unleashing Catholic Generosity: Explaining the Catholic Giving Gap in the United States,” by Brian Starks, director of CSPRI, and Christian Smith, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology at Notre Dame, compares the religious giving of Catholics with that of other religious communities in America and concludes that Catholics, on average, give less than other Christians.
University of Notre Dame Associate Professor Daniel Hobbins is a historian of high and late medieval Europe, with a particular interest in the cultural and intellectual history of the period from 1300 to 1500. Under this broad heading, his research has focused on late medieval authorship (through the example of Jean Gerson), Joan of Arc, and backgrounds to print. In this video, Hobbins discusses his research on the tremendous changes in book production in the late Middle Ages, before the advent of print.
“If you only like philosophy, then be a philosopher. If you only like history, then be a historian. If you only like mathematics, then be a mathematician. But if you like all of those things, you should be an economist,” says Timothy S. Fuerst, the William and Dorothy O’Neill Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame. One of the most-cited economists in the world, Fuerst also serves as senior economic advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. His research interests include monetary theory and policy, with a special focus on business cycles.
Social practices and cultural beliefs of modern life are preventing healthy brain and emotional development in children, according to an interdisciplinary body of research presented recently at a symposium at the University of Notre Dame.
Sandra M. Gustafson, professor of English and concurrent professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fellowship to write a book on conflict and democracy in classic American novels. Faculty in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters Notre Dame have been awarded 49 NEH fellowships between 1999 and 2013—more than any other university in the country.
Thanks to the efforts of Semion Lyandres, an associate professor in the Department of History, and crucial seed funding from the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, Notre Dame has now unveiled a significant archive of primary documents that shed new light on the origins of modern Russia.
What do Sierra Leone, Croatia, and Ireland have in common? All are the subject of University of Notre Dame senior Catherine Reidy’s undergraduate research. Reidy, a psychology major and anthropology minor in the College of Arts and Letters, spent the past two summers collecting ethnographic research data in Makeni, Sierra Leone.
In a new study published recently in Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, University of Notre Dame psychology researchers Jessica Payne and Alexis Chambers found that people who experienced rapid eye movement (REM) sleep soon after being presented with an emotionally-charged negative scene—a wrecked car on a street, for example—had superior memory for the emotional object compared to subjects whose sleep was delayed for at least 16 hours.
The University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters will launch a doctoral program in the Department of Anthropology, with the first cohort of students due to enroll in fall 2014. The new program, says Susan Blum, professor and chair of the department, will focus its curriculum and training on integrative anthropology.
Notre Dame Psychology Professor G.A. Radvansky focuses his research on the development of mental model theories for human memory and cognition. In this work, he explores how we create, organize, store, and retrieve mental models, and how younger and older people use them differently.