Divisions & Units - Social Sciences

Sociologist Neil Smelser, campus leader and Free Speech Movement diplomat, dies at 87

October 12, 2017
Neil Smelser, a distinguished sociologist and higher education leader who navigated the swells of student uprisings during the exhilarating and tumultuous 1960s, died peacefully on Oct. 2 at his home in Berkeley. He was 87.

Three L&S alumni win MacArthur 'genius' awards

October 11, 2017
Three L&S alumni are among the 24 amazing Americans revealed today as winners of the coveted MacArthur “genius” award. Writer Viet Than Nguyen and opera director Yuval Sharon are both alumni of the Department of English, and conceptual artist Trevor Paglen has a BA in Religious Studies and a Ph.D. in Geography.

Parole violations, not new crimes, help drive prison's revolving door

October 3, 2017
Failing a drug test, associating with felons and other technical parole violations are among the key drivers of prison’s “revolving door,” according to new UC Berkeley research.

Fox squirrels use 'chunking' to organize their favorite nuts

September 12, 2017
Like trick-or-treaters sorting their Halloween candy haul, fox squirrels apparently organize their stashes of nuts by variety, quality and possibly even preference, according to new UC Berkeley research.

Emoji fans take heart: Scientists pinpoint 27 states of emotion

September 6, 2017

A new UC Berkeley study challenges a long-held assumption in psychology that most human emotions fall within the universal categories of happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear and disgust.

Berkeley scientists link more education to better cognitive functioning later in life

August 28, 2017

Higher levels of education are tied to later ages of peak cognitive functioning, according to new research published today in the journal PLoS One.

Feeling bad about feeling bad can make you feel worse

August 10, 2017
Pressure to feel upbeat can make you feel downbeat, while embracing your darker moods can actually make you feel better in the long run, according to new UC Berkeley research.

Rare audio of indigenous languages saved a century later

August 8, 2017
UC Berkeley researchers have begun to preserve rare audio of indigenous California languages thanks to a new, non-invasive technology — bringing us a step closer to understanding the area’s oldest cultures.

Hey Siri, an ancient algorithm may help you grasp metaphors

June 27, 2017
New UC Berkeley research suggests that Siri and other digital helpers could someday learn the algorithms that humans have used for centuries to create and understand metaphorical language.

Dementia patients may die sooner if family caregivers are mentally stressed

June 26, 2017
Patients with dementia may actually die sooner if their family caregivers are mentally stressed, according to a new UC Berkeley study.