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Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE) Discoveries

NSF's public investment in science, engineering, education and technology helps to create knowledge and sustain prosperity. Read here about the Internet, microbursts, Web browsers, extrasolar planets, and more... a panoply of discoveries and innovations that began with NSF support.

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Images of the top and front of hominin skulls. Researchers Consider Ancestry of Recent Fossil Finds
Thought experiment stresses consequences of placing newly discovered fossils on human family tree
Released  March 16, 2011
Photo of a mother-son orangutan pair housed at Zoo Atlanta. Orangutans in the Mist
Cheryl Knott's NSF-supported work helps us understand why orangutans require protection and conservation
Released  February 9, 2011
Image showing a toddler looking toward a toy and away from a metallic robot. Babies Learn From Robots While Robots Learn From Babies
Interdisciplinary research combines infant learning and computer science
Released  November 18, 2010
Photo of Adriana Galván, a researcher at UCLA. Stressed Out: Teens and Adults Respond Differently
UCLA neuroscientist Adriana Galván studies the impact of normal, everyday stress and associated stress hormones on adolescents' brain function and decision making
Released  September 3, 2010
Photo of a soccer player's foot on the ball. Soccer Stars Ranked Using Statistics
Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a computer program that objectively measures player performance; the research method also could be used by companies to measure the performance of employees on project teams
Released  July 8, 2010
Photo of a bonobo named Mimi, the alpha female, having a little down time. Humans Have a Lot to Learn From Bonobos, Scientists Say
Duke University Assistant Professor Brian Hare and colleagues study the behavior of bonobos, apes that are genetically close to humans
Released  May 12, 2010
The New York Stock Exchange, focal point of the 2008 Stock Market crash. New PBS Television Program Highlights NSF-funded Economics Research
NOVA's "Mind Over Money" examines 2008 stock crash
Released  April 20, 2010
Photo showing a lineup of potential perpetrators. Re-Examining Eyewitness Identifications
Scientists are trying to determine why errors in eyewitness identifications occur, and how to prevent these errors
Released  April 16, 2010
Image of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), taken with a scanning electron microscope. The Invisible AIDS Victims: How Women Cope
Northwestern University associate professor Celeste Watkins-Hayes studies women with HIV/AIDS and the economic resources that help them effectively manage their health
Released  January 14, 2010
Reconstruction of the tarpan, or wild European horse, Equus ferus. Finding the First Horse Whisperers
Sandra Olsen of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History describes how she and her colleagues, with support from NSF, discovered evidence of the early beginnings of horse domestication in Kazakhstan
Released  January 4, 2010
Photo of Andrew Meltzoff The New Science of Learning
Researchers find social aspects of learning important at all ages
Released  September 11, 2009
A real scan of a human brain. Unlocking the Secrets and Powers of the Brain
Leading minds in neuroscience discuss what we know about how our brains work and where the field is headed
Released  June 15, 2009
A photo of a violinist practicing. Fine-tuned Brains
New research shows how musical training enhances an individual's ability to recognize emotion in sound
Released  April 10, 2009
Eight thumbnail images and 2008 in Review 2008: Year in Review
A look back at some of the NSF-supported advances and activities that made news last year
Released  March 13, 2009
Photo of logs that were from cut from the Amazonian rainforest. Amazon Deforestation: Earth's Heart and Lungs Dismembered
NSF-supported researchers explore the links between globalization, deforestation of Brazil’s Amazon region and the country’s dynamic cattle economy
Released  January 23, 2009
A drawing of Mahatma Gandhi on the wall separating the West Bank from Israel. Respect for Sacred Values is Key to Conflict Resolution
Ethical and religious beliefs can trump material gains in motivating human behavior
Released  January 7, 2009
Illustration of a fleeing crowd of artificial agents. A Crowded World
Researchers use computer scenarios to study crowd behavior in time and space
Released  December 18, 2008
Photo of Duke University Lemur Center director Anne D. Yoder with a Coquerel's Sifaka. Islands: Exquisite Labs of Evolution
Anne Yoder, director of the Duke University Lemur Center, and colleagues are using genetic and genomic approaches to unravel the history of lemurs and the primate family tree
Released  November 14, 2008
Photo of a greenhouse. Financial Markets Grow 'Green' Companies
Investors see 'green' firms as less risky, charge lower interest rates
Released  October 7, 2008
City of Clarksdale in the Coahoma County, Mississippi Delta region Violent Crime and Civic Engagement in Rural Communities
Sociologist Matthew Lee designs a new conceptual model to study violence in rural settings
Released  August 12, 2008
Photo of a California neighborhood devastated by a wildfire in October 2007. Why People Live in Wildfire Zones
University of Oregon psychology professor Paul Slovic and other researchers offer insight into understanding risks in a democratic society
Released  July 2, 2008
Map showing regions where people have increasing contact with wildlife. Predicting the Next Major Virus
Peter Daszak, executive director of the Consortium for Conservation Medicine at Wildlife Trust, talks about the importance of research to better predict and prevent future devastating pandemics
Released  June 30, 2008
Photo of woman resting her head on basket of laundry. Chore Wars: Men, Women and Housework
Study confirms wives do most household chores
Released  April 28, 2008
2007 In Review 2007: Year in Review
A look back at some of the NSF-supported advances and activities reported last year
Released  January 30, 2008
Photo of cave opening Seafood Makes Waves: Humans Leave Home
Shellfish allowed humans to relocate to Australia and New Guinea 40,000 years earlier than first thought
Released  October 17, 2007
Video-game technology and satellite imagery provide a bird's-eye view of ancient footpaths. Modern Technology Reveals Ancient Footpaths Buried in 2,500 Years Worth of Volcanic Ash
Central-American villagers created sacred burial customs despite volcanic eruptions
Released  March 13, 2007
2006 in Review 2006: Year in Review
A look back at some of the NSF-supported activities highlighted last year
Released  January 9, 2007
Social science research provides crucial data on American attitudes, beliefs and social structure. Windows on American Life
Social science research offers insights into American lifestyles and opinions
Released  December 7, 2006
Language helps babies learn spatial relationships such as "in" and "on." Understanding the Building Blocks of Language and Thought
Language shapes how infants learn spatial concepts
Released  December 6, 2006
Plane taking off New Technologies Could Make Airport Screening More Effective and Less Cumbersome
Experts focus on identifying passenger ability and intent
Released  October 24, 2006

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