In 2011–12, UBC received more than $500-million in funding for 7,990 research projects. The work of world-class researchers earned broad media coverage.


March 5, 2012

Youngest kids in class more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD

“In fact, the youngest boys were 30% more likely than their oldest classmates to get an ADHD diagnosis, and the youngest girls had a 70% greater chance, according to the study conducted by Dr. E. Jane Garland, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and colleagues.

‘The younger children in a grade were significantly more likely to be diagnosed, labeled, and treated with medication for what in some of them must simply be immaturity,’ Garland says.”

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Youngest children in class may be more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD

The Daily Mail (UK)

March 30, 2012

Coffee’s ‘stimulant’ effect only works on lazy people, say scientists

“Every day, millions of people use stimulants to wake up, stay alert and increase their productivity – from truckers driving all night to students cramming for exams,” says Jay Hosking, a PhD candidate in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Psychology, who led the study.

“These findings suggest that some stimulants may actually have an opposite effect for people who naturally favour the difficult tasks of life that come with greater rewards.”

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Coffee’s stimulant effect may only work on lazy people

The Telegraph (UK)

April 5, 2012

How to spot a liar: the hint of a smile and raised eyebrows

“Researchers found four facial muscles ‘leaked’ a person’s true feelings, such as guilt, amid intense emotional pressures.

“The team from the University of British Columbia, in Canada, concluded that liars were betrayed by tiny movements that caused them to raise their eyebrows in surprised expressions and smile slightly.”

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Leanne ten Brinke, PhD Psychology graduate, UBC’s Okanagan campus – photo by Jody Jacob

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The New York Times

April 11, 2012

There’s alternatives to the gold in them thar whales

“Nothing typifies disgustingly expensive quite like ambergris, the rare and highly prized excretions of sperm whales suffering from indigestion, which can fetch up to $20 per gram….

“A study by scientists at the University of British Columbia, published this month in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, found that synthetic alternatives to ambergris may be much more cheaply and reliably produced.

“The team of scientists, led by Joerg Bohlmann, professor of Botany and Forest Services, has successfully identified the gene encoding for cis-abrienol, the key chemical compound in balsam fir and can now introduce the gene into a yeast strain familiar to winemakers to reproduce the compound more efficiently and more reliably than ever before.”

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Prof. Joerg Bohlmann – photo by Martin Dee

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ABC News

April 23, 2012

Pumping iron to prevent dementia?

“Resistance training could be an important part of reversing memory decline in elderly women with mild memory problems, according to a new study published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

“Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada studied 86 women between the ages of 70 and 80 who had mild cognitive impairment, a condition where people have problems with memory or other brain functions that are noticeable but not severe enough to interfere with daily life.”

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Resistance training may help reverse memory decline in elderly women


April 27, 2012

Losing your religion? Analytical thinking weakens religious belief

“Religious faith is likely a complex phenomenon, shaped by multiple aspects of psychology and culture, say the authors of a new study. But the researchers, Ara Norenzayan and Will Gervais of the University of British Columbia in Canada, showed in a series of clever studies that at least one factor consistently appears to decrease the strength of people’s religious belief: analytic thinking.”

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Analytical thinking may weaken religious belief

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The Wall Street Journal

July 18, 2012

Bullying is a buzzkill for colleagues, too

“Workplace bullying doesn’t just affect the target of a boss’s cruel jokes or physical abuse. A new study from the University of British Columbia finds that other employees are just as hurt by the inappropriate behavior. Sometimes, more so.

“‘Just working in that toxic environment can [have a negative effect],’ says Sandra Robinson, a professor at University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business and a co-author of the study.”

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Prof. Sandra Robinson – photo by Mark Mushet

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Kelowna Daily Courier

September 7, 2012

UBCO, partners pour $2.5M into water research

“Water plays such a critical role in the Okanagan that UBC Okanagan and numerous partners are funding $2.5 million in research.

“UBC resource economics professor John Janmaat will co-ordinate the disbursement of that endowment fund with guidance from an advisory committee composed of university and community leaders. Committee members will not only identify important issues, but also ensure research moves from the university to the community.”

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Prof. John Janmaat is congratulated on his appointment as LEEF BC Regional Innovation Chair by BC Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick – photo by Paul Marck

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National Geographic

October 24, 2012

The eighth habit of highly effective people? Avoid summer birthdays

“Want your kids to be a high-flying corporate execs? If so, you may want to avoid giving birth to them during the summer months. A new study from the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia finds that babies born in June or July are less likely to become CEOs at S&P 500 companies than those with spring birthdays.”

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Prof. Maurice Levi – photo by Mark Mushet

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The Daily Mail (UK)

December 21, 2012

Bullying bosses are bound for top spot

“The University of British Columbia team found these participants paid significantly greater attention to individuals who appeared more dominant or prestigious, indicating their higher levels of influence.

The study also revealed while participants preferred leaders with prestige, they were more likely to choose dominant leaders, and were more forgiving of their behaviour.”

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People may prefer leaders who are dominant

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