WBEZ | University of Chicago http://www.wbez.org/tags/university-chicago Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Database Shows Complaints Against Chicago Officer Charged In Teen's Death http://www.wbez.org/news/database-shows-complaints-against-chicago-officer-charged-teens-death-113946 <p><p>NPR&#39;s Ari Shapiro talks with Jamie Kalven, co-founder of the Invisible Institute, which with the University of Chicago put together a database of police misconduct in Chicago.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/complaints-against-chicago-cops-published-after-20-year-saga-113715" target="_blank">RELATED: You Can Now Search Complaints Against Chicago Police Officers</a></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/gettyimages-498665158_custom-9c648367ac84089a77935afb947a597730c6d83b-s700-c85%20%281%29.jpg" style="height: 359px; width: 540px;" title="Demonstrators march through downtown Chicago on Tuesday following the release of a video showing Jason Van Dyke, a police officer, shooting and killing Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder for the October 2014 shooting in which McDonald was hit with 16 bullets. So far this year, 15 officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter resulting from an on-duty shooting. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)" /></div><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-officer-charged-murder-killing-black-teen-113933">Read more of our coverage of the Laquan McDonald case</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 15:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/database-shows-complaints-against-chicago-officer-charged-teens-death-113946 What it's like to be #BlackOnCampus http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-20/what-its-be-blackoncampus-113871 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/blackoncampus.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Two top officials at the University of Missouri stepped down last week after student protests broke out over racial discrimination. In the wake of what happened at Mizzou, some schools are adding a new position: Diversity Officer. Northwestern recently added someone in that role. Dr. Jabbar Bennett is Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion at NU, and talks about what he&rsquo;s doing to ensure that students are treated equally.</p><p>But in large part, the push for racial equality on college campuses this fall has been driven by students, not school administrations. Thousands have staged protests at schools across the country, and there&rsquo;s a hashtag where black students are talking about their experiences: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/blackoncampus?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Ehashtag">#BlackOnCampus</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/all_worn_out">Stephanie Greene</a> is a junior at the University of Chicago and president of the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/obs1.uchicago.edu/">Organization of Black Students</a>. Atrician Lumumba is a U of C sophomore and that OBS&#39;s vice president. They share their experiences with racial discrimination on campus.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 11:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-20/what-its-be-blackoncampus-113871 Up late? Looks like our paleo ancestors didn't sleep much either http://www.wbez.org/news/science/late-looks-our-paleo-ancestors-didnt-sleep-much-either-113367 <p><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Oivind%20HovlandGetty%20ImagesIkon%20Images.jpg" style="height: 461px; width: 620px;" title="Oivind Hovland/Getty Images/Ikon Images" /></div><div><p>In America, it seems only unicorns get seven or eight hours of sleep a night, and the rest of us suffer. And no wonder; we bask in the night with screens and lights that could be cutting rest unnaturally short. But people may be meant to sleep as little as 6 1/2 hours nightly and were doing so long before the advent of electricity and smartphones, researchers say.</p><p>To find that out, they consulted with some of the few people on the planet who live roughly the same lifestyle humans did in the Paleolithic.</p><p>Psychiatrist and sleep researcher&nbsp;<a href="http://www.semel.ucla.edu/profile/jerome-siegel">Jerome Siegel</a>&nbsp;at UCLA started studying three different hunter-gatherer groups in Africa and South America. &quot;All three don&#39;t have any electricity, don&#39;t have any of the sort of modern electronic developments that many think have reduced our sleep,&quot; he says.</p><p>Those hunter-gatherers spent about seven or eight hours a night in bed, but they slept for just five to seven of those hours, according to the study, published Thursday in<em> Current Biology</em>. &quot;It&#39;s clear that the amount of sleep that all of these groups get is at the low end of what we&#39;d see in the United States today,&quot; Siegel says. Sleeping that little has been linked to everything from shorter life span to stomach problems and weight gain in industrial societies.</p><p>But unlike many people in the United States or Europe who sleep less than seven hours a night, members of the Hadza in Tanzania, San in Namibia, and Tsimane in Bolivia tend to be very healthy. There&#39;s virtually no obesity, many have very long lives, and nearly everyone in these societies does not have trouble sleeping. &quot;Approximately 20 percent of our population complains of chronic insomnia at some point,&quot; Siegel says. &quot;The two groups we quizzed on this don&#39;t have a word for insomnia.&quot;</p><p>That raises a lot of questions about why we think we need eight hours of shuteye. &quot;That classic teaching that adults need seven or eight hours of sleep has to do with population-based evidence,&quot; says Dr.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.med.upenn.edu/apps/faculty/index.php/g362/p15640">Indira Gurubhagavatula</a>, a sleep expert at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine who was not involved with the study. &quot;This paper questions, is that data flawed? And if so, how or why? Or it could be that the sleep we&#39;re getting is lower quality, and we need more of it to feel restored?&quot;</p><p>Siegel thinks that might be because we evolved in the environment&#39;s natural 24-hour pattern of light and temperature, but we&#39;re cut off from that rhythm now. By contrast, these hunter-gatherers go to sleep a few hours after sunset, when the night gets chilly. They wake up when the day begins warming from the sunrise.</p><p>Following Earth&#39;s natural tempo in this way could improve the quality of their sleep, says&nbsp;<a href="https://newfaculty.uchicago.edu/page/kristen-knutson">Kristen Knutson</a>, a sleep researcher and biomedical anthropologist at the University of Chicago. Our bodies&#39; core temperature also cycles this way, regardless of air conditioning or heating. &quot;If their sleep is following the environment&#39;s temperature rhythm more closely and naturally, then their sleep quality may indeed be better than what is happening in the United States,&quot; she says.</p><p>Researchers already know that light and temperature play an important role in sleep. Light can reverse jet lag and help set internal clocks, and people fall asleep more easily when their core body temperature falls. This all could contribute to why hunter-gatherers&#39; sleep less than we do on average, Gurubhagavatula says.</p><p>And it could also mean that many non-hunter-gatherers may not need to sleep eight or more hours a night. &quot;I think the beauty of this current study is that maybe we shouldn&#39;t be ramming this requirement down [every person&#39;s] throat so to speak,&quot; she says.</p><p>That&#39;s not to say that there aren&#39;t lots of people who are incredibly sleep-deprived, Gurubhagavatula says. Light and temperature aren&#39;t the only things dictating how much we sleep. &quot;It&#39;s our activity and diet and stress level. I see patients who are single parents and have three jobs, and they&#39;ll be lucky to have five hours of sleep and are tired all the time.&quot; Those people need more sleep.</p><p>There are other habitual short sleepers in our society &mdash; truck drivers, graduate students, and idiot reporters who should know better &mdash; with lifestyles vastly different from a hunter-gatherer. &quot;[They&#39;re] not the same as someone in our society who only sleeps 6 1/2 hours,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="https://sleep.med.harvard.edu/people/faculty/225/Elizabeth+B+Klerman+MD+PhD">Dr. Elizabeth Klerman</a>, a sleep researcher at the Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women&#39;s Hospital in Boston.</p><p>What&#39;s natural for a hunter-gatherer might not be natural for everyone, Siegel agrees. &quot;I don&#39;t think we could just fling someone back into an equatorial lifestyle, and that&#39;ll be entirely beneficial,&quot; he says. But he&#39;s excited about other possibilities. If hunter-gatherers are sleeping better because they&#39;re more in tune with the daily temperature cycle, maybe we can do the same by programming thermostats to echo conditions outside. &quot;That&#39;s a specific aim of my next grant,&quot; he says.</p><p><em><a href="http://angusrchen.com/">Angus Rohan Chen</a><a href="http://angusrchen.com/">&nbsp;</a>is a reporter and radio producer living in New York City. He has a dry wit and no hobbies. Please be his friend on Twitter @angRchen.</em></p></div><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/10/15/448932273/up-late-looks-like-our-paleo-ancestors-didnt-sleep-much-either?ft=nprml&amp;f=448932273" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 15 Oct 2015 15:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/science/late-looks-our-paleo-ancestors-didnt-sleep-much-either-113367 Where the wild fractions are: the power of a bedtime (math) story http://www.wbez.org/news/where-wild-fractions-are-power-bedtime-math-story-113256 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/wild-math-story1_slide-6460ca1e1853fb43e084d2485d001ffa007d0692-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res446644331" previewtitle="Where the wild integers are"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Where the wild integers are" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/07/wild-math-story1_slide-6460ca1e1853fb43e084d2485d001ffa007d0692-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 406px; width: 610px;" title="(LA Johnson/NPR)" /></div></div><p>Parents who are uneasy about their own math skills often worry about how best to teach the subject to their kids.</p><p>Well ... there&#39;s an app for that. Tons of them, in fact. And a study published today in the journal&nbsp;<em>Science&nbsp;</em>suggests that at least one of them works pretty well for elementary school children and math-anxious parents.</p><p>A team from the University of Chicago used a demographically diverse group of first-graders and their parents &mdash; nearly 600 in all &mdash; across a wide swath of Chicago. One group got to use an iPad app called Bedtime Math, built by a nonprofit with the same name. (The app is also available for Android, but we&#39;re told most used the iPad version) The no-frills app uses stories and sound effects to present kids with math problems that they can solve with their parents.</p><p><strong>The control group was given a reading app with similar </strong><strong>stories</strong><strong> but no math problems to solve. The results at the end of the school year?</strong></p><p>I reached out to University of Chicago psychology professor Sian L. Beilock, one of the paper&#39;s lead authors, to find out more.</p><p><strong>I read to my child all the time. But I don&#39;t read bedtime math stories.&nbsp;After reading your study, maybe I should?</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/350/6257/196">Our study&nbsp;</a>suggests that doing&nbsp;<a href="http://bedtimemath.org/">Bedtime Math</a>&nbsp;with your kids can help advance their math achievement over the school year, and this might be especially important for parents who are a little bit nervous about their own math ability.</p><p><strong>That&#39;s me! How big an increase and what kind of improvement did you see when kids used this iPad app?</strong></p><p>We compared kids who used the Bedtime Math app that involved reading stories and doing math problems with their parents to kids who did a very similar app that didn&#39;t have the math content. We showed that when kids frequently used the app with their parents, those who used the math app were three months ahead in terms of math achievement relative to kids who just did the reading app.</p><p><strong>Your team found that the app worked even better for children whose parents tend to be a bit anxious or uncomfortable with math?</strong></p><p>Many adults in the U.S. and around the world profess to be uncomfortable or anxious about math. Oftentimes dealing with your kid around math can be a nerve-wracking experience &mdash; whether it&#39;s homework or just talking about it. We found that doing this Bedtime Math app with kids was especially beneficial for those kids whose parents tended to be the most nervous about math. In essence, these kids grew significantly throughout the course of the year and looked like kids whose parents weren&#39;t anxious about math by school year&#39;s end.</p><p><strong>And you saw improvement even in children who used the app with parents as little as once a week?</strong></p><p>Yes, it was somewhat surprising to us that such little use would have such important benefits. One of the ideas is that we think that when parents get comfortable with talking with their kids about math &mdash; it doesn&#39;t have to be complex math problems, it could be anything from shapes to even counting &mdash; they likely engage in math talk even when they&#39;re not using the app. And we know that parents who talk more with their kids about math &mdash; whether you&#39;re counting out the number of cookies or counting the minutes to bedtime &mdash; those kids tend to achieve at higher rates in math.</p><p><strong>Bottom line for you: A little bit of math can go a long way, at least in terms of this one study&#39;s findings?</strong></p><p>That&#39;s exactly what we&#39;re showing.</p><p><strong>There are a lot of apps out there. Why&#39;d you choose this app in particular? What was special about it?</strong></p><p>There is certainly a billion dollar education app industry out there. What we&#39;ve realized in our initial work is that a lot of it isn&#39;t based on research. It&#39;s unclear what the benefits are. In fact, there has been some research that shows that apps with lots of bells and whistles can actually be detrimental to kids&#39; learning because it distracts them. We base our investigations on learning science.</p><p>We&#39;ve shown that, when parents interact with their kids and talk with them about math, that really impacts what kids learn. We were interested in this because it really is a no-frills app, an easy way for parents to interact with their kids, to talk with their kids about math. It&#39;s not an app that they use by themselves. And we thought that that potentially had promise in terms of what math knowledge kids gained.</p><p><strong>I admit I&#39;m kind of a math-anxious parent. But when doing stuff like woodworking, I try to incorporate a little geometry and basic measurement whenever I can. &quot;Hey, let&#39;s measure this again! Twenty-four inches &mdash; how many feet is that?&quot; It&#39;s a fun way to sneak a little bit of math in.</strong></p><p>And to realize that math is part of everything we do, and math is not something scary or that one should be anxious about. And it&#39;s really healthy to try to incorporate that into daily life. And often, as you said, parents think about reading bedtime stories, but there is a place for thinking also about bedtime math.</p><p><strong>Culturally and socially, it seems we don&#39;t think about math as integral a part of parenting as reading. And few adults would say, &quot;I&#39;m not so good at reading.&quot; But many people say, &quot;I&#39;m not so good at math.&quot; And somehow that&#39;s socially acceptable.</strong></p><p>Yes, in my book,&nbsp;Choke,&nbsp;where I talk about stress and performance, I mention how you don&#39;t hear people walking around bragging that they&#39;re not good at reading. But very intelligent people brag about not being good at math. And it turns out that that anxiety and social acceptability has implications for our nation&#39;s success in math and science fields. And it&#39;s really important that we as parents and teachers and adults try to convey to our kids that math is something that&#39;s (a) enjoyable and (b) learned. You&#39;re not born a math person or not; it&#39;s something that&#39;s acquired. And every time we talk about it and we integrate it into our daily lives, children may see the importance of it and that math is not something to be fearful of.</p><p><strong>Where do you think some of that math anxiety comes from?&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Math anxiety comes likely from lots of different places. Previous work that my group has done shows that teachers who tend to be anxious about math affect their kids&#39; perceptions of math and what they learn across the school year. We also know that when parents are anxious about math they can transfer that to their kids, especially when they&#39;re helping a lot with math homework. We tend to point to the schools to be the source for math knowledge. But kids spend lots of time outside of school and get lots of information from parents and from other adults. So being cognizant of how we talk about math and how we integrate it into our daily lives is important &mdash; both inside and outside the classroom.</p><p><strong>Did you see any improvements in the parents&#39; math ability by any chance [laughs]?</strong></p><p>Ha, well, that&#39;s a really interesting question. We are just looking into those questions now. You can imagine that for parents who have a fear of math or less than optimal math training, it might take more than one school year to move the needle for them. But we are seeing improvements with their kids. And that&#39;s a first step. And we will be looking (in future studies) at how parents think about math, how they do in math, and most specifically their attitudes when interacting with their kids.</p><p><strong>So there is hope for me?</strong></p><p>There is hope for all of us! And, as you said, integrating these sorts of counting and math activities into daily routines is a great way to socialize both kids and their parents to the benefits of math.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/10/08/446490524/where-the-wild-fractions-are-the-power-of-a-bedtime-math-story?ft=nprml&amp;f=446490524" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 10:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/where-wild-fractions-are-power-bedtime-math-story-113256 Research showing neutrinos have mass awarded Nobel Prize http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-06/research-showing-neutrinos-have-mass-awarded-nobel-prize-113207 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1006_nobel-prize-physics-2-624x333.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_93738"><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/10/1006_nobel-prize-physics-2.jpg" title="The portraits of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2015 Takaaki Kajita (L) and Arthur B McDonald are displayed on a screen during a press conference of the Nobel Committee to announce the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics on October 6, 2015 at the Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden. Takaaki Kajita of Japan and Canada’s Arthur B. McDonald won the Nobel Physics Prize for work on neutrinos. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)"><img alt="The portraits of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2015 Takaaki Kajita (L) and Arthur B McDonald are displayed on a screen during a press conference of the Nobel Committee to announce the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics on October 6, 2015 at the Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden. Takaaki Kajita of Japan and Canada's Arthur B. McDonald won the Nobel Physics Prize for work on neutrinos. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/10/1006_nobel-prize-physics-2-624x333.jpg" /></a></p><p>Looks like John Updike&rsquo;s poem about neutrinos being mass-less objects, &ldquo;<a href="http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1995/illpres/cosmic-call.html" target="_blank">Cosmic Gall</a>,&rdquo; might need an update.</p></div><p>Takaaki Kajita of Japan and Arthur McDonald of Canada have been awarded the Nobel Prize in&nbsp;Physics for their discovery that the subatomic particles called neutrinos&nbsp;do&nbsp;have&nbsp;mass. Scientists have called this a historic and major discovery.</p><p>Michael Turner, director of the <a href="https://kicp.uchicago.edu" target="_blank">Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics</a> at the University of Chicago, tells&nbsp;<em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/" target="_blank">Here &amp; Now</a>&#39;s</em> Jeremy Hobson how&nbsp;this discovery has changed scientists&rsquo;&nbsp;understanding of the universe.</p><p>&ldquo;The universe has so many neutrinos that they contribute as much to the mass budget of the universe as do the stars we see in the sky,&rdquo; Turner said.</p><p>He says the neutrino, which he affectionately calls a &ldquo;lightweight,&rdquo; may be able to tell us about the origins of matter.</p><p>&ldquo;The atoms that you and I are made out of, we believe that neutrinos in the early universe had a role in creating the ordinary matter that we&rsquo;re made out of,&rdquo; Turner said.</p><p><em>Correction: After our interview aired, Professor Turner sent us this correction: &nbsp;&ldquo;It is now four Nobels for the neutrino: &nbsp;1988 for the discovery of the muon neutrino; 1995 for the discovery of the neutrino itself; 2002 for solar and supernova neutrinos; and 2015 for neutrino mass. &nbsp;What a particle!&rdquo;</em></p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/06/nobel-prize-in-physics" target="_blank"><em>via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-06/research-showing-neutrinos-have-mass-awarded-nobel-prize-113207 Sanders calls on students to join his fight in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/sanders-calls-students-join-his-fight-chicago-113088 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_441526762664.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO&nbsp;&mdash; Bernie Sanders is calling on thousands of college students to join him in fighting for a $15 minimum wage and women&#39;s rights.</p><div><p>The Democratic presidential candidate and independent senator from Vermont spoke Monday before about 2,000 students at the University of&nbsp;Chicago.</p><p>Sanders graduated in 1964 from the university, where as a student he led protests against racial segregation.</p><p>The event had echoes of those held by President Barack Obama, who campaigned aggressively on college campuses and relied on young voters to help him win two terms.</p><p>Obama also taught at the university, which is near his&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;home and the future site of his presidential library.</p><p>Sanders says, &quot;We need the idealism and the energy and the intelligence of millions of young people to join us.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<em> via The Associated Press</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 28 Sep 2015 12:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/sanders-calls-students-join-his-fight-chicago-113088 UChicago researchers explore the lonely brain http://www.wbez.org/news/does-being-lonely-impact-social-interactions-113044 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/6033995797_5d3b3490da_z.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 200px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: left;" title="(flickr/S.Antonio72)" />Researchers at the University of Chicago have found that when you&rsquo;re lonely, your brain may actually operate differently.</p><p>The researchers found that when lonely people are exposed to negative social cues of some kind, the electrical activity in their brains is more extreme. Meaning lonely people are subconsciously guarding against social threats, which could lead them to be even more isolated&nbsp;&mdash; and&nbsp;more lonely.</p><p>Here &amp; Now&nbsp;host Peter O&rsquo;Dowd speaks with&nbsp;Derek Thompson, senior editor with <em>The Atlantic</em>, on this&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-research-on-overcoming-loneliness-1442854148" target="_blank">research</a>.</p><p>&mdash;<em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/09/22/lonely-social" target="_blank"> via Here &amp; Now</a></em></p></p> Wed, 23 Sep 2015 14:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/does-being-lonely-impact-social-interactions-113044 New trauma center planned for Chicago's South Side http://www.wbez.org/news/new-trauma-center-planned-chicagos-south-side-112899 <p><p>Health officials have announced plans to bring an adult trauma center to Chicago&#39;s South Side after community activists sought one for years.</p><p>The $40 million joint project announced Thursday by University of Chicago Medicine and Sinai Health System would convert the emergency room at Holy Cross Hospital into a trauma center.</p><p>The <a href="http://trib.in/1OG2I5n">Chicago Tribune reports</a> the South Side hasn&#39;t had adult trauma care since 1991, when a now-defunct hospital in the Bronzeville neighborhood closed its trauma center. The center at Holy Cross would be one of four in Chicago.</p><p>Community members have pressured the University of Chicago to open a trauma center on its campus in Hyde Park. University of Chicago Medicine would pay for expansion and renovation at Holy Cross and provide trauma care specialists, while Sinai Health would provide most of the medical personnel.</p></p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 08:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-trauma-center-planned-chicagos-south-side-112899 The power of anthropomorphism http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-31/power-anthropomorphism-112772 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/wilson.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Anthropomorphism &mdash; not a word that easily rolls of the tongue. It sounds like a rather complicated concept but it&rsquo;s actually something that affects us everyday. It&rsquo;s something we do when we give human characteristics to animals or objects. It&rsquo;s a psychological phenomenon that can help people overcome their fears and change their perceptions.</p><p>We see it in movies...children&rsquo;s television shows and most often...in advertising. The power of anthropomorphism is explored in the<a href="http://www.chicagobooth.edu/capideas/magazine/fall-2015/are-you-looking-at-me?cat=business&amp;src=Magazine"> latest issue of Capital Ideas</a>, the research magazine for the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Capital Ideas Executive Editor Hal Weitzman dropped by last week to talk more about it.</p></p> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 10:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-31/power-anthropomorphism-112772 Predicting police misconduct before it happens http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-21/predicting-police-misconduct-it-happens-112704 <p><p>Every day there are thousands of interactions between police officers and citizens across the country. While most are uneventful, a small number leave a member of the public disrespected, unprotected, harassed or &mdash; in all too many cases seen recently &mdash; hurt or even killed.</p><p>This summer, fellows with <a href="http://dssg.io/">Data Science for Social Good</a> &mdash; a program at the University of Chicago that connects data scientists with governments and nonprofits &mdash; are working to predict when officers are at risk of misconduct, the goal being to prevent problems before they happen.</p><p>The effort&rsquo;s part of the <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/05/18/launching-police-data-initiative">White House Police Data Initiative</a>, which aims to increase transparency and community trust, while decreasing inappropriate uses of force. (That DSSG was approached by the White House wasn&rsquo;t surprising; its program director, Rayid Ghani, was the Chief Data Scientist for Obama for America in 2012.)</p><p>Police departments around the country &mdash; 21 in all &mdash; are participating in the national effort. (Chicago police were not one of the departments picked to participate.) The White House matched DSSG with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Like many agencies, CMPD has early intervention systems. The challenge for DSSG was to find ways to improve them and avoid misconduct.</p><p>&ldquo;So we&rsquo;re trying to identify these opportunities to give them the information and training they need to avoid these negative interactions,&rdquo; said Joe Walsh, a mentor with DSSG overseeing the project.</p><p>CMPD currently looks at measures such as use of force, accidents and injuries, and sets a number of incidents that should trigger a response from the department. Officers who are flagged by the system will meet with a supervisor to review an incident, receive counseling or additional training.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not the most effective system,&rdquo; said CMPD Capt. Stella Patterson. &ldquo;We realize there&rsquo;s some enhancements that need to be made to it.&rdquo;</p><p>Working through the partnership was sometimes intense. The Charlotte City Council had to <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/06/21/white-house-police-data-initiative-privacy-concerns/28952215/">approve an ordinance to share the data with DSSG</a> (fellowship staff traveled to the city to make that happen), and some officers &mdash; including Patterson &mdash; were anxious sharing so much information with people outside the department. Still she feels that the project will help in the long run.</p><p>&ldquo;As a police officer, I&rsquo;m going to tell you personally, it was a little uncomfortable, because now you&rsquo;re exposing yourself really to the world,&rdquo; Patterson said. &ldquo;People will look at this project as a model for the rest of law enforcement. But the benefit we&rsquo;re going to get from it is going to be great. While some of us may feel like we&rsquo;re opening up ourselves, I feel like law enforcement today and moving forward is going to require that.&rdquo;</p><p>To find common patterns, the DSSG team analyzed incidents and anonymized data of the officers involved. They considered things like: when and where an arrest or traffic stop occurred; had the officer worked extra shifts; how long had they been on the force; even what the weather was like at the time.</p><p>&ldquo;Because it&rsquo;s sort of a new problem, we spent a lot of time trying to grasp what was important and what wasn&rsquo;t, and that&rsquo;s something we&rsquo;re still working on,&rdquo; said fellow Kenny Joseph, a computer science student at Carnegie Mellon.</p><p>That explains why the group of data analysts got face-time with CMPD, meeting department top brass and even going on ride-alongs with officers.</p><p>&ldquo;We would not be able to do a good job had we not gone down,&rdquo; said fellow Ayesha Mahmud, a demography student at Princeton University. &ldquo;None of us had any idea coming in what the everyday life of a police officer was like.&rdquo;</p><p>Mahmud said she was struck by how much time a police officer spends during each shift just speaking with residents to gather information and diffuse problems.</p><p>&ldquo;I think we all came to the realization that the data can only capture a very small part of that story,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I think that really helped us think about this problem.&rdquo;</p><p>With the fellowship finishing up next week, DSSG has identified a few indicators they hope can identify possible problem officers &mdash; such as previous uses of force, working extra shifts, or responding to other stressful calls &mdash; all before they create problems.</p><p>Still, each fellow was careful to point out they haven&rsquo;t tested and refined the model enough to draw any causal conclusions just yet.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s just so much that could be at play here and we only have three months,&rdquo; Walsh said. &ldquo;So while we may be able to improve the system that they have, there&rsquo;s still a long way to go.&rdquo;</p><p>Patterson said CMPD plans to review the proposed model before they update their current system, but is open adding the findings to their discussions.</p><p>&ldquo;We may realize, looking at all the data and the research, that the thresholds we have now are inadequate,&rdquo; Patterson said. &ldquo;That piece of it is still to be determined, and we are certainly going to work with University of Chicago as well as our other partners, other agencies, to see what the best practices are.&rdquo;</p><p>While they remain cautious, the fellows believe the model they&rsquo;ve created can help the department do a better job identifying problems before they happen.</p><p>&ldquo;It can&rsquo;t solve everything, but I do think our data can help CMPD do a better job targeting their interventions,&rdquo; Mahmud said. &ldquo;Even if we can help prevent 25 more adverse events in a year, that&rsquo;s better than their current system.&rdquo;</p><p>Walsh said that DSSG plans to continue the project next year, and he&rsquo;s hopeful they can get data from more police departments. The next up is Knoxville, Tennessee.</p><p><em>Chris Hagan is a web producer and data reporter with WBEZ. Follow him at </em><a href="https://twitter.com/chrishagan"><em>@chrishagan</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 12:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-21/predicting-police-misconduct-it-happens-112704