UA Anthropologists in the News in the Summer & Fall 2013

In June 2013, Dr. Jason DeCaro got a chance to set the record straight when Evolutionary Psychologist Geoffrey Miller put his tweet in his mouth with the following:nyu5n-3-web

Dr. DeCaro, who subsequently tweeted from his own account what a degrading and unwarranted claim Miller had made, was contacted by The NY Daily News. Dr.  DeCaro pointed out that “Current human biology and health psychology research show conclusively that a combination of genetics and social environment have far more to do with obesity than does ‘willpower,’ contrary to what people often assume.”

In October, Dr. Chris Lynn was interviewed for an article on glossolalia (speaking in tongues among Charismatics and some other religious practitioners through the ages) and stress reduction. Dana Foundation is a private philanthropic organization dedicated to brain research. The article discusses Dr. Lynn’s dissertation fieldwork among Pentecostals in upstate New York, which compared rates of speaking in tongues to salivary biomarkers of stress and found some preliminary evidence for a relaxation effect.

CW / Emily Young
CW / Emily Young

In November, Dr. Lynn was also interviewed about UA’s Evolutionary Studies program, housed in the Department of Anthropology, for the newsletter EvoS Illuminate, published by the EvoS Consortium. In it, Dr. Lynn highlights the program at Alabama, discusses his evolution blogging efforts, and background. Later that month, Dr. Lynn and EvoS Club President and Anthropology major Taylor Burbach were contacted by The Crimson White for an article about the EvoS program. The article highlighted the importance of the program for UA students and the outreach efforts they’re engaged in for the community.

In December, Ph.D. student Tina Thomas published a piece in Anthropology News entitled “Multiple Worlds Theory and ‘High Risk Girls’ Versus Those that ‘Stay Inside’” about her research into risky behavior among teenage girls in Alabama and HIV risk. Alabama has one of the lowest rates of condom use among high school students in the United States, and Thomas’ research has found that this may be due, in part, to girls’ conceptualization of the protection afforded by condoms. According to Thomas, many of her participants believe that condoms have a high failure rate because of notions that they can clip off or break easily. Thomas’ continuing research seeks to understand the cultural models underlying these beliefs in high- and low-risk groups in Alabama.

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