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Post Date: Feb 12, 2019

UBC study examines use of emojis in romantic contexts – and how some emojis have double meanings

For some, an eggplant emoji evokes visions of a fabulous dinner, while for others, it could suggest an intimate interlude after dessert.

UBC Okanagan researchers are hoping to better understand interpretations of these small, emotion-portraying images through a new study. They found that emojis were included in half of all texts and 80 per cent of social media posts. In addition, they demonstrated an emerging trend of emojis being used for sexually suggestive messages.

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UBC research examines hormones that make us choose love over sex

Post Date: Feb 12, 2019

Looking for love and looking for sex are two different things, even at the level of human evolutionary biology. Alec Beall, a postdoctoral researcher in UBC’s department of psychology, has studied the conflict between them. Now he is taking a closer look at the hormones involved. To usher in Valentine’s Day, we asked him about his research.

Your research focuses on something people have called “the love hormone.” What is that?

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Is your editor asking you to be an expert on something new today?

Post Date: Feb 08, 2019

Is your editor asking you to be an expert on something new today?

The University of British Columbia has people who can help you with that. Actual experts. More than 1,260 of them, covering just about any hot topic you might be assigned. They are available to answer your phone calls and emails, and you can get their contact info from the UBC Experts Guide.

We have recently updated the Guide to add new experts and improve search results. Using it is as easy as using Google. You type your topic into a box and the Guide produces a list of UBC experts.

For example, let’s say your topic is housing…

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Fish chemical cocktail reveals how a single gene may alter an aquatic ecosystem

Post Date: Feb 12, 2019

Linking genomics, evolution and ecology, study reveals broad implications of how species adapt to their local environment

Variations in a single gene in tiny stickleback fish alter how they interact with their environment and potentially trigger changes across an ecosystem, a new study from the University of British Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania finds.

The study, published today in Ecology Letters, found that the amount of bony plating on threespine stickleback fish in British Columbia – a trait governed by a single gene called Eda – was linked to the amount of phosphorous they released into the water around them.

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Gay-straight alliances contribute to a safer school climate long-term

Post Date: Feb 11, 2019

New analytical methods show long-term effects, even for straight students

Gay-straight alliances (GSAs) help make schools safer for students the longer they are in place, even among straight students, finds new research from the Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre at the University of British Columbia.

“We found that students’ feelings of safety at school kept increasing over at least 14 years, the longest time a GSA had been in a B.C. school so far,” said Elizabeth Saewyc, a professor of nursing at UBC and senior author of the study. “Schools that never had a GSA did not show the same patterns of improving school safety.”

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People think and behave differently in virtual reality than they do in real life

Post Date: Feb 05, 2019

Immersive virtual reality (VR) can be remarkably lifelike, but new UBC research has found a yawning gap between how people respond psychologically in VR and how they respond in real life.

“People expect VR experiences to mimic actual reality and thus induce similar forms of thought and behaviour,” said Alan Kingstone, a professor in UBC’s department of psychology and the study’s senior author. “This study shows that there’s a big separation between being in the real world, and being in a VR world.”

Alan Kingstone

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Some pregnant women don’t believe cannabis is harmful to their fetus

Post Date: Jan 31, 2019

Up to one-third of pregnant women do not believe cannabis is harmful to their fetus, according to a new review by UBC researchers.

In some cases, women perceived a lack of communication from their health care providers about the risks of cannabis as an indication that the drug is safe to use during pregnancy.

The findings are outlined in a new review, published in the journal Preventive Medicinein which UBC researchers sought to identify the latest evidence on women’s perspectives on the health aspects of cannabis use during pregnancy and post-partum and whether their perceptions influence decision-making about using the drug.

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