On October 10, the University of West Alabama at Livingston hosted an “Afternoon of Anthropology” with Dr. Kathy Oths, who gave two talks on her work for our department. She gave a talk about her study of Tuscaloosa farmers markets entitled “Farmers Markets and Foodies: Conflict, Change, and Resolution” and another regarding her project in Peru called “Medical Tradition in the Peruvian Highlands: What Time and Climate Change Have Wrought.”
Just in time for the holidays, Dr. Chris Lynn published initial results of his study of fireside relaxation in the open access journal Evolutionary Psychology, which has received attention from Huffington Post, Discover Magazine, Men’s Health, Fox 4/WBRC in Birmingham, Mail Online, Paleo (in Spanish), and UA A&S Desktop News. In the experimental study, Lynn found that even watching a fire simulation (e.g., a Yule log DVD) for as little as 15 minutes can reduce blood pressure when it simulates some of the naturalistic conditions of a real fire, such as the crackling sounds. He speculates that this capacity may have played an important role in human cognitive evolution, given the long history of humans and controlled fire.
Several students have been involved in Dr. Lynn’s fireside relaxation study over the past few years, and last year undergraduate Meghan Steel gave a presentation about it at the American Anthropological Association annual meeting that was blogged about by Sydney Yeager for the Anthropology of Consciousness. Meghan introduced a prosociality measure to the third iteration of the project, and Lynn found that participants who scored higher on the prosociality scale achieved greater relaxation benefits.
The Fall 2014 issue of the College of Arts and Sciences Collegian (Vol. 23, No. 1) features three articles on research in our department. Dr. Marysia Galbraith is recognized for the receipt of a third Fulbright Grant to extend her study of Polish identity. Along with collaborators in the Department of Psychology, Dr. Jason DeCaro is recognized as a recipient of a $2.2 million grant to assess the efficacy of local Head Start programs. The Collegian also details doctoral student Paul Eubanks‘ NSF-supported study of Caddo Indian salt production in what is today Northwest Louisiana.
Eubanks was also a finalist for the “Three-Minute Thesis” competition hosted by the UA Graduate School, as highlighted in the UA News.