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Study: Telling Fewer Lies Linked to Better Health and Relationships

Categories: General News, Research, and Faculty News

“Pants on fire” isn’t the only problem liars face. New research from the University of Notre Dame shows that when people managed to reduce their lies in given weeks across a 10-week study, they reported significantly improved physical and mental health in those same weeks. The “Science of Honesty” study was presented recently at the American Psychological Association’s 120th annual convention.

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Political Scientist Monika Nalepa Wins Leon D. Epstein Book Prize

Author: Kate Cohorst

Categories: General News, Research, Internationalism, and Faculty News

Notre Dame assistant professor Monika Nalepa has won the American Political Science Association’s 2012 Leon D. Epstein prize for Skeletons in the Closet: Transitional Justice in Post-Communist Europe (Cambridge University Press). This is the second win in two years for Nalepa. Skeletons in the Closet also won the 2011 Best Book Award from the APSA’s Comparative Democratization section.

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Christian Smith Honored by American Sociological Association

Author: Joanna Basile

Categories: General News, Research, Centers and Institutes, and Faculty News

University of Notre Dame Professor Christian Smith has won the 2012 Distinguished Career Award from the Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity section of the American Sociology Association (ASA). The accolade, presented at the ASA’s annual meeting in August, recognizes a senior scholar who has made significant contributions to the section’s areas of focus over an extended period of time. Smith, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, is a concurrent professor in the Department of Theology and director of both the Center for the Study of Religion and Society and the Center for Social Research, as well as College’s Science of Generosity initiative.

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Historian Doubts Staying Power of 'Mexican Spring' Student Movement

Author: Elizabeth Rankin

Categories: General News, Research, Centers and Institutes, Internationalism, and Faculty News

Every six years, Mexicans go to the polls to elect a new president, and students erupt in protest, says University of Notre Dame historian Jaime Pensado, a fellow at the University’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies. An expert on Mexican youth culture and student movements, Pensado says this year has been no different, as tens of thousands of students organized through social media took to the streets in the “Yo Soy 132” movement.

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Economist Joseph Kaboski Receives 2012 Frisch Medal

Author: Kate Cohorst

Categories: General News, Research, Centers and Institutes, Internationalism, and Faculty News

University of Notre Dame economist Joseph Kaboski has been awarded the 2012 Frisch Medal for a paper evaluating the impact of microfinance, widely used as a tool to fight poverty in developing countries. First awarded in 1978, the Econometric Society presents the Frisch Medal biennially for the best empirical or theoretical applied paper published in Econometrica within the previous five years. The Frisch medal is not only one of the top three prizes in the field of economics but also the most prestigious “best article” award in the profession, says Rich Jensen, Gilbert F. Schaefer Professor of Economics at Notre Dame and chair of the Department of Economics.

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After Child Dies, Mom’s Risk of Early Death Skyrockets

Categories: General News, Research, and Faculty News

In the first two years following the death of a child, there is a 133 percent increase in the risk of the mother dying, a new study from the University of Notre Dame shows. Researchers William Evans, a health and labor economist at Notre Dame, and Javier Espinosa of the Rochester Institute of Technology studied 69,224 mothers aged 20 to 50 for nine years, tracking the mortality of children even after they had left the household. It is the first study of its kind using a large, nationally representative U.S. data source.

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Study Finds Confusion Can be Beneficial for Learning

Categories: General News, Research, and Faculty News

Most of us assume that confidence and certainty are preferred over uncertainty and bewilderment when it comes to learning complex information. But a new study led by Sidney D’Mello of the University of Notre Dame shows that confusion when learning can be beneficial if it is properly induced, effectively regulated, and ultimately resolved. The study will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Learning and Instruction.

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Fight in Front of Kindergartner, Expect Problems During Teenage Years, Study Shows

Categories: General News, Research, and Faculty News

Parents who fight in front of their kindergarten-aged children could be setting them up for depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems as adolescents, according to new research from the University of Notre Dame. A new longitudinal study finds that the impact of destructive marital conflict on children in their kindergarten years is long-lasting and can lead to emotional problems and difficulties in adolescence.

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Study: When Highly Skilled Immigrants Move in, Highly Skilled Natives Move Out

Categories: General News, Research, Alumni, and Faculty News

In the first study to measure the temporary impact of highly skilled immigrants on native populations, University of Notre Dame economist Abigail Wozniak and Fairfield University’s Thomas J. Murray—a former Notre Dame graduate student—found that when highly skilled immigrants move to a city or town, the U.S. natives in that area who are also highly skilled tend to move away. However, the study found that the same immigrant group’s presence decreases the chances that low-skilled natives would leave.

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Senior Mary Atwood Illuminates Andean Legends

Author: Mark Shuman

Categories: General News, Undergraduate News, Research, Centers and Institutes, Internationalism, and Arts

As a linguist, artist, semiotician, and interdisciplinary scholar committed to social action, graduating senior Mary Atwood is a Notre Dame original. Drawing on seven weeks of research in Peru, the theology major recently completed a senior thesis that included original oil paintings and English translations of three Inca legends gleaned from interviews with Quechua speakers in Cusco’s central market.

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Voters’ Views of Mormonism Still Stumbling Block for Romney, New Study Shows

Categories: General News, Research, Catholicism, and Faculty News

Though the social barriers of race and gender were largely overcome during the last U.S. presidential campaign, religious affiliation (in this case, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormonism) is still a significant hurdle, according to a new study by University of Notre Dame Political Science Professor David Campbell and colleagues from Brigham Young University and the University of Akron.

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Graduate School Announces 2012 Shaheen Award Winners

Author: Kevin Zeise

Categories: General News and Research

The Notre Dame Graduate School recently announced the winners of the 2012 Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Graduate School Awards, the highest honors bestowed on Notre Dame graduate students. Nominated by their departments, Shaheen Award winners are chosen for their superior ability as exhibited by grades, research, and publication records, fellowships and other awards received during the course of study at Notre Dame, as well as teaching ability. English Ph.D. recipient Hilary Fox won in the humanities category and Carlos Gervasoni, who received his Ph.D. in political science, won in the social sciences category.

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Exemplary Undergraduate Research Showcased

Author: Kate Cohorst

Categories: General News, Undergraduate News, and Research

College of Arts and Letters students made a strong showing at Notre Dame’s 5th annual Undergraduate Scholars Conference, which showcased more than 250 research, scholarship, and creative projects from across the University. At the May 4, 2012, event, senior art history honors student Caroline Maloney won first prize in the Undergraduate Library Research Awards sponsored by Hesburgh Libraries and the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement.

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Examining Christian Perceptions and Muslim Identity

Author: Joanna Basile

Categories: General News, Research, Centers and Institutes, and Faculty News

Notre Dame historian Olivia Remie Constable has been awarded a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for her book project Christian Perceptions of Muslim Identity in Medieval Spain. Among other things, her work will examine Christian attitudes toward Muslim dress and appearance and whether Muslims could engage in public religious expressions, teach Arabic to their children, and maintain bathhouses, schools, cemeteries, and other separate spaces important to the continuity of their culture and religion.

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History Major Explores Work of Missionaries in Colonial Peru

It is widely known that Spanish missionaries played a significant role in introducing Catholicism to the peoples of the Andes throughout the colonial period. Notre Dame senior history major Joseph VanderZee traveled to archives in Lima and Rome to dig a little deeper and find out what these early missionaries thought of the indigenous population—and how their attitudes affected the development of the Peruvian Church.

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Solving a Fascinating Puzzle

Author: Joanna Basile

Categories: General News, Research, Internationalism, and Faculty News

Robert Goulding, an associate professor in the University of Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies, was recently awarded a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) to support a research project that combines mathematics, philosophy, and Renaissance science. Goulding, who also teaches in the History and Philosophy of Science graduate program, says his work focuses on English scientist and mathematician Thomas Harriot (1560–1621), whom he calls “a really unusual figure” in intellectual history.

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Microfinance Yields Mixed Results in Thailand, Economist Joseph Kaboski Finds

Categories: General News, Research, Centers and Institutes, Internationalism, and Faculty News

Large-scale microfinance programs are widely used as a tool to fight poverty in developing countries, but a recent study by University of Notre Dame economist Joseph Kaboski and MIT colleague Robert Townsend suggests that microfinancing can have varying results for participants and may not be the most cost-effective use of funds for many situations. The study was published in a recent issue of Econometrica. Kaboski and Townsend used the Thai Million Baht Village Fund, one of the largest government microfinance initiatives of its kind, to evaluate and understand the benefits and disadvantages of microfinance interventions.

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Center for Social Concerns Honors Community-Based Research

University of Notre Dame engineer James Schmiedeler received the 2012 Rodney F. Ganey, Ph.D., Faculty Community-based Research Award for a project that uses the Nintendo Wii Fit platform to assist individuals dealing with weakness, paralysis, or impairments in balance and mobility as a result of strokes, accidents or illness. Schmiedeler, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, developed “WeHab” with colleagues from the College of Engineering and College of Arts and Letters, working in collaboration with the therapy staff at Memorial Hospital in South Bend.

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Music Historian and Liturgical Scholar Margot Fassler Wins Three Research Awards

Art. Sacred music. Medieval history. And the digital humanities. Margot Fassler, Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy at Notre Dame, brings them all together in her current research on Hildegard of Bingen—research for which she has been recently awarded fellowships from both the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Adding to these accolades, Fassler, who co-directs the Master of Sacred Music program in the College of Arts and Letters, today received the 2012 Otto Gründler Book Prize for The Virgin of Chartres: Making History Through Liturgy and the Arts (Yale University Press, 2010).

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Notre Dame Psychology Students Take on Wikipedia Challenge

Author: Chris Milazzo

Categories: General News, Undergraduate News, Research, and Faculty News

Wikipedia is often in the top results when people search for information online, but it isn’t always the most credible source. Enter a group of advanced Notre Dame undergraduates in psychology who have taken on the challenge to update, correct, or, in some cases, write new entries for the online encyclopedia. It’s all part of the new Association for Psychological Science (APS) Wikipedia Initiative—and Assistant Professor Gerald Haeffel’s Science and Pseudoscience in Psychology class is one of a select few across the country selected to participate.

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Exploring Learning In and Out of School

Author: Aaron Smith

Categories: General News, Research, Centers and Institutes, and Faculty News

A two-day working conference titled Learning In and Out of School: Education Across the Globe will bring a dozen researchers to the Notre Dame campus May 22–23 to share and discuss a broad range of perspectives on the nature of learning. “We’re taking a critical look at conventional schooling and bringing insights from other domains to understand human learning and to improve schooling—which is one of my goals as a teacher and researcher,” says organizer Susan Blum, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology.

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Medieval Studies and Classics Major Delves into Mystery of Labyrinths

Author: Alex Kilpatrick

Categories: General News, Undergraduate News, Research, Internationalism, and Catholicism

Prominent in both Greek mythology and Catholicism, the labyrinth remains one of the most enigmatic and elaborate structures in history. Notre Dame senior Maria Martellaro traveled to Italy and France this past summer in attempt to unravel this mystery for her senior thesis on the labyrinth and its role in late medieval religious architecture. “How did this [element of a] classical, very pagan myth,” she asks, “work its way into becoming a Catholic symbol?”

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Anthropologist's New Book Busts Myths About Sex, Race, and Violence

Categories: General News, Research, and Faculty News

A new book by University of Notre Dame Anthropology Professor Agustín Fuentes titled Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature counters these pernicious myths and tackles misconceptions about what race, aggression, and sex really mean for humans. Presenting scientific evidence from diverse fields, including anthropology, biology, and psychology, Fuentes incorporates an accessible understanding of culture, genetics, and evolution, requiring us to dispose of notions of “nature or nurture.”

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Anthropology Interns Explore Career Possibilities

Author: Alex Kilpatrick

Categories: General News, Undergraduate News, Research, and Internationalism

Anthropology majors at the University of Notre Dame took their studies from the theoretical to the practical last summer, completing internships that had them doing archaeological fieldwork in Mongolia, cataloging artifacts in Chicago’s Field Museum, and collecting the oral histories of Irish immigrants on Beaver Island, Mich. Through these internships, students did more than gain experience in the field; they also had invaluable opportunities to work alongside experts and get insider looks at a variety of careers paths.

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Notre Dame Student Discovers Rare Star

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Categories: General News, Research, and Alumni

College of Arts and Letters alumnus and current Notre Dame law student Colin Littlefield’s late-night job at the Notre Dame Observatory has led to a one-in-a-billion discovery of a rare type of star—a Wolf-Rayet. Littlefield ’11 discovered the exceptional star, named WR 142b, this past summer, and he and his colleagues announced the discovery in a paper accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal.

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Political Science Major Michael O’Brien Named 2012 Valedictorian

Categories: General News, Undergraduate News, Research, and Faculty News

Michael J. O’Brien, a political science major in the College of Arts and Letters, has been named valedictorian of the 2012 University of Notre Dame graduating class and will present the valedictory address during Commencement ceremonies May 20 (Sunday) at Notre Dame Stadium. O’Brien is editor-in-chief of Beyond Politics: Undergraduate Journal of Politics, and serves as president of the Notre Dame College Democrats, leading one of the most active College Democrats chapters in the nation.

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Study Examines Dire Retirement Security of Latinos

Categories: General News, Research, and Centers and Institutes

As our nation’s youngest, longest-lived and fastest-growing labor force, understanding the savings and retirement security of Latinos is of national importance. “Confianza, Savings, and Retirement,” a new report from Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, examines the social, cultural, and economic factors influencing Chicago-area Mexican immigrants’ savings and preparedness for retirement.

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Graduate Students Receive Hands-On Experience With Ancient Texts

Author: Kevin Zeise and Martin Bloomer

Categories: General News, Research, and Internationalism

The Ambrosian Library in Milan hosted 11 Notre Dame graduate students over spring break, where they inspected and read manuscripts dating back to the fifth century A.D. Through the generosity and expertise of their hosts, the class saw some of the great treasures of the library including the Ambrosian fifth-century bible, the poet Petrarch’s copy of Virgil’s works, and Leonardo d Vinci’s notebooks.

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