Skip to main content

Social Sciences

Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Mark

How does society, and the manner in which humans behave, influence our world? Our social scientists transform the way we think about the economy, politics, basic motives of human behavior, and the nature of social interactions.

A boy and man sitting on opposite ends of a couch.

When parenting teens, keep calm and don’t carry on

Rochester psychologists found that mothers and fathers who were less capable of dampening down their anger are more likely to resort to harsh discipline aimed at their teens, and that fathers in particular were not as good at considering alternative explanations for their teens' behavior.

More »

Close ups of four sets of eyes.

Common test of mental state understanding is biased

The RMET may be unduly influenced by social class and culture, hence posing a serious challenge to assessing correctly the mental state understanding in clinical populations.

More »

Two children playing

Strong sibling bonds help buffer against conflict between parents

Patrick T. Davies a professor of Psychology says, “Most children not only grow up with a sibling but spend more time interacting with siblings than with any other family member.”

More »

Feet and arrows

Uncertainty in a date dampens interest in a mate

A study by psychologists, including Professor Harry Reis, finds that uncertainty about potential partners’ romantic interest decreased their sexual appeal.

More »

A woman voting

Survey: US democratic performance declines on most measures

Bright Line Watch, who conducted the survey, is made up of four political scientists including Gretchen Helmke, a professor of political science at Rochester.

More »

Mom hugging child

At-risk families find research-driven services at Mt. Hope Family Center

MHFC focuses on a racially and culturally diverse group of low-income families who have a myriad of challenges, including extreme poverty, trauma, and mental illness.

More »

Capital building

Children with FASD lag in emotional understanding

Christie Petrenko was the lead coordinator of a study that reveals that children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) show a striking developmental delay in their understanding of emotions.

More »

Capital building

Albany and Brazil, more alike than you think

In an editorial for the New York Daily News, Daniel Reichman looks at the turmoil in Brazil and finds comparisons to Albany. (Photo: Wally Gobetz/Flickr)


More »

A mother holding her child

Using behavior patterns to build happier families

Christie Petrenko’s research suggests “pre-emptive strategies” are an effective way to care for children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

More »

A child peering over a table

New grant to help the youngest victims of trauma

Sheree Toth and the Mt. Hope Family Center received a $1.98 million five-year grant to provide trauma treatment services for children and families exposed to a wide array of stress and trauma, and to promote policies for trauma care.

More »

A woman in distress

Can stress in relationships affect parenting?

Mt. Hope Family Center researchers Melissa Sturge-Apple and Patrick Davies have received a grant to study the effects of conflicts between parents on parent-child interactions.

More »

Satellite illustration

New book focuses on life after genocide in Rwanda

Robert Foster first visited Papua New Guinea in the 1980s, when telephones of any kind were scarce. Upon returning in 2010, he found a country transformed by mobile phones.

More »