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From the College of Natural Sciences
Black Families Are Combating the Effects of Discrimination on Their Children Through Talks

Black Families Are Combating the Effects of Discrimination on Their Children Through Talks

Black parents in the U.S. who see others experience racial discrimination, such as news coverage involving violence against Black people, are more likely to talk with their children about race and discrimination, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found. Such conversations between parents and their children have been shown to improve young people's behavior and school outcomes.

Older Adults Are Happier When Space Matches Personality

Older Adults Are Happier When Space Matches Personality

The old saying, "Home is where the heart is," has some new science to back it up. A study has found photos of a person's living space can accurately point at personality traits and the mood of the people who live there, especially as a person gets older.

Natural Sciences Welcomes Two Visiting Harrington Faculty Fellows

Natural Sciences Welcomes Two Visiting Harrington Faculty Fellows

The College of Natural Sciences will welcome two members of the Harrington Faculty Fellows Program, which supports a group of visiting scholars each year.

Evidence Against Physically Punishing Kids Is Clear, Researchers Say

Evidence Against Physically Punishing Kids Is Clear, Researchers Say

A conclusive narrative review has found physical punishment of children is not effective in preventing child behavior problems or promoting positive outcomes and instead predicts increases in behavior problems and other poor outcomes over time. The study by an international group of scientists including a researcher from The University of Texas at Austin was published today in The Lancet.

Blaming the Pandemic for Stress Leaves Couples Happier

Blaming the Pandemic for Stress Leaves Couples Happier

Illustrations by Jenna Luecke

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit during the winter of 2020, locking down entire countries and leaving people isolated in their homes without outside contact for weeks at a time, many relationship experts wondered what that kind of stress would do to romantic couples. What they found was that when couples blamed the pandemic for their stress, they were happier in their relationships.

E-Cookbook Promotes Sustainable Food Sourcing and Raises Funds for Charity

E-Cookbook Promotes Sustainable Food Sourcing and Raises Funds for Charity

A team of 17 students from The University of Texas at Austin created a donation-based e-cookbook titled "A Taste of Austin Through the Lens of Sustainability" that showcases local restaurants and businesses focused on sustainability.

The Case Against Spanking (Audio)

The Case Against Spanking (Audio)

Physical punishment, or spanking, is widely practiced in the U.S. and around the world, although it appears to be decreasing. Parents, caregivers and school administrators who use it say the goal is to prevent unwanted behaviors and teach children to make better choices. But does it actually work? And what long term effects does it have on the physical and mental health of people who are punished this way?

Two CNS Faculty Receive President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Awards

Two CNS Faculty Receive President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Awards

Laura Lashinger (left) and Sally Ragsdale are recipients of the annual President's Associates Teaching Excellence Awards.

Laura Lashinger and Sally Ragsdale, two College of Natural Sciences faculty members, have been named recipients of the annual President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award for the 2020-2021 academic year. The award recognizes the university's educational innovators who demonstrate exceptional undergraduate teaching in the core curriculum, including signature courses, and engage with curriculum reform and educational innovation.

Nutrition Researchers Developing Digital Platform for Teachers

Nutrition Researchers Developing Digital Platform for Teachers

A group of University of Texas at Austin nutrition researchers and educators received a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas to create a digital platform empowering teachers to include nutrition and gardening lessons in outdoor settings in their curriculum. The premise is that when kids have a direct connection to fresh produce — planting vegetables, tending them and watching them grow — they are more likely to make healthy eating choices.

Twin Study Shows Why Physical Punishment Leads to Child Behavior Problems

Twin Study Shows Why Physical Punishment Leads to Child Behavior Problems

Harsh parenting practices, not genetics, are linked to higher levels of behavior problems in children, according to a new study in the March 2021 volume of Psychological Science, which studied pairs of twins whose parents disciplined them differently.

New Model Can Help Improve COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

New Model Can Help Improve COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Illustration by Jenna Luecke.

Richard Taylor, clinical assistant professor in the School of Human Ecology, co-authored a study published in Frontiers in Public Health which estimated that 1.7 million vaccine doses are needed to reach herd immunity for COVID-19 in Travis County. A new model could help public health officials in Central Texas better manage what amounts to a much larger vaccination campaign than was carried out during the last pandemic.

School Gardens Linked With Kids Eating More Vegetables

School Gardens Linked With Kids Eating More Vegetables

Getting children to eat their vegetables can seem like an insurmountable task, but nutrition researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found one way: school gardens and lessons on using what's grown in them.

Elders Who Live Alone See Benefits in Interacting with Others

Elders Who Live Alone See Benefits in Interacting with Others

For older adults living alone during the pandemic, in-person visits bring benefits to emotional wellbeing distinct from what they experience from phone calls or electronic communication, University of Texas at Austin researchers have found. 

COVID-19 Pandemic is Having Little to No Effect on Intimate Relationships

COVID-19 Pandemic is Having Little to No Effect on Intimate Relationships

Illustration by Jenna Luecke

When the COVID-19 pandemic brought many couples into the close quarters of quarantine and lockdown, many researchers wondered whether the effect would be more arguments, more divorces or perhaps closer relationships. Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have found that relationships have mostly continued much as they were before, with the happiest couples seeing a small boost. In a new study out today in the journal Psychological Science, the researchers found people's overall satisfaction levels with their relationships changed little during the pandemic, even amid significant stressors, from job losses to health concerns.

UT Students’ Jewelry Design Picked Up by Kendra Scott

UT Students’ Jewelry Design Picked Up by Kendra Scott

A group of 2020 University of Texas at Austin graduates can now see the jewelry they designed on the shelves at Kendra Scott.