When gifts go bad

Yahoo Fri Nov 20 2015

UBC psychology professor Elizabeth Dunn is quoted in a Yahoo article on holiday gifts. According to Dunn, even standard-issue gifts can be passive aggressive, depending on the particular circumstances and relationship between the giver and the recipient.

UBC migration expert says refugee fears overblown

CKNW Wed Nov 18 2015

UBC professor Dan Hiebert allayed fears about the influx of refugees from Syria, saying Canada has experience in settling large numbers of refugees.

Noting that B.C.’s non-profit settlement sector is very experienced, Hiebert observed: “They have a very large network of volunteers that they call on for these kinds of things. I think that is going to unfold reasonably well.”

Taiwan artworks at UBC point to spiritual dimension

The Province Wed Nov 18 2015 By: Stuart Derdeyn

Seven modern artists are represented in the new Taiwan art exhibition at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology.

The exhibit includes weaving art, fabric installations and paper cutting art and was curated by socio-cultural anthropologist Fuyubi Nakamura.

(In) visible: The Spiritual World of Taiwan Through Contemporary Art runs through April 3.

The way forward for Canadian digital diplomacy

The Embassy Wed Nov 18 2015 By: Julian Dierkes

UBC professor Julian Dierkes, who specialises in Japan and Mongolia, calls on the new Liberal government to embrace digital diplomacy to support its foreign policy.

Open exchange of views and meaningful social media engagement can “bring foreign affairs, international trade, and development assistance into a fruitful collaboration,” Dierkes wrote.

He adds: “A digital diplomacy strategy has to be led by diplomats, not by communications specialists, though these specialists are essential in providing support for evolving initiatives.”

How fairness develops in kids around the world

The Atlantic Wed Nov 18 2015 By: Ed Yong

Joe Henrich from UBC is quoted in an article documenting a study of ideas of fairness in 866 children from the U.S., Canada, India, Mexico, Peru, Senegal and Uganda.

There’s a growing movement to study human behaviour across different cultures and not just in the Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic (“WEIRD”) societies, according to the story.

“The study shows that some psychological motivations are exclusive to WEIRD children,” says Henrich. “Of course, it also highlights the need for taking the next step: Researchers need to go beyond merely documenting human psychological diversity and begin to move toward explaining it.”

Unification of Ireland ‘could bring in €36.5bn in eight years’

Irish Times Thu Nov 19 2015 By: Francess McDonnell

Political and economic unification of Ireland could boost its GDP by €35.6 billion, according to a US study led by Kurt Hübner, director of the Institute for European Studies at UBC.

The researchers assumed five scenarios that could take place as a result of unification, including the harmonization of tax systems across the island, reduced trade barriers and transport costs, and productivity improvements.

“While these effects occur in a static global economic environment, under ideal political conditions, they underline the potential of political and economic unification when it is supported by smart economic policy,” Hübner said.

Why Canada needs a new approach to China

The Globe and Mail Tue Nov 17 2015 By: Wendy Dobson, Paul Evans

Canada needs a fresh new approach to China, say UBC political scientist Paul Evans and University of Toronto professor Wendy Dobson.

They recommend a collaborative approach in economics, including forging a bilateral free-trade agreement and collaborating in energy, natural resources and other initiatives. They also think Canada should deepen partnerships in Asia-Pacific, particularly with Australia, Indonesia and South Korea. A third recommendation is to support Canadian values while helping China build its capabilities.

The trouble with China-Mongolia relations

The Diplomat Wed Nov 18 2015 By: Bochen Han

Despite warming relations between China and Mongolia, Mongolians themselves remain largely ambivalent about their neighbour, according to a Diplomat article.

UBC Ph.D. candidate Mendee Jargalsaikhan says this anti-Chinese sentiment has its roots from the era of Sino-Soviet tensions, when Mongolia was under the Soviet influence, and from current worries over Chinese economic activities worldwide.

Does it feel better to give or receive a gift?

Popular Science Tue Nov 17 2015 By: Daniel Engber

Spending money on others might be a surer way of achieving happiness than spending money on one’s self, according to UBC researcher Elizabeth Dunn.

Dunn surveyed 632 Americans in 2008 to study their spending habits and happiness. She found that they spent more on themselves on average, than on friends or relatives.

A similar article appeared on MSN.

UBC has the best psychology program in Canada: new Maclean’s rankings

UBC Psychology Mon Nov 9 2015

For the first time ever, Maclean’s has ranked the best universities in 10 program areas—including psychology—and UBC Psychology ranks number one in Canada. Psychology is the most popular undergraduate major at UBC, with over 1800 students working toward their BA degree and over 150 studying for their BSc degree.

UBC professor honoured for research into children’s language acquisition

UBC News Mon Nov 16 2015

Congratulations to Psychology professor Janet Werker, who has won the 2015 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Gold Medal for her achievements in the field of children’s language acquisition. This is the first time a UBC professor has received the highest SSHRC research honour.

What goes into preparing for a TEDxVancouver talk?

News 1130 Sat Nov 14 2015 By: Mike Lloyd

UBC economics professor Marina Adshade explains that TED speakers spend a lot of time writing and perfecting their talk. “If you have a lot to say, which most of us do, you really have to organize yourself,” Adshade said.

Adshade was one of almost two dozen experts who spoke at TEDx Vancouver on Saturday.

Political scientist discusses the aftermath of the Paris attacks

CKNW Sat Nov 14 2015

UBC political scientist Allen Sens says the world will be watching to see how France reacts in the days following the Paris attacks.

“France is one of the countries that are deeply engaged in the fight against ISIS in the Middle East….It’s also a country that has deep divisions on Islamic extremism and Islam generally, and in the treatment of its Arab populations,” Sens told CKNW. “One of the things to watch for is will there be a backlash. There’s already a great deal of hostility and suspicion…the [attacks] can provoke deep racial and religious hostility.”

Sens also spoke to News 1130.

More Metro Vancouver residents turning to vans, trailers, RVs

The Vancouver Sun Sat Nov 14 2015 By: Kelly Sinoski

Metro Vancouver residents who are living in vans, trailers and similar vehicles to avoid paying rent are the focus of a new article in the Vancouver Sun.

UBC sociology professor Nathanael Lauster says high housing costs is mostly to blame for the growing number of people living in vehicles.

“These vans and RVs can be a relatively warm and dry place to stay and rest your head,” said Lauster.

Green promises among red tide

Winnipeg Free Press Fri Nov 13 2015 By: Aaron Freeman

Many of the Liberals’ promises about environment policy aren’t specific enough, according to UBC political scientist Kathryn Harrison.

“It calls for a national price on carbon but doesn’t give any details about what that scheme would look like,” Harrison said, adding that the three major party platforms all “left the door open to one or more pipelines.”