Top NYU findings from the past month.

illustration: two speech bubbles with twitter birds inside

This month, NYU researchers found that tweets with moral and emotional words—such as "greed"—were more likely to spread within the sender's ideological network, with an increase of about 20% in re-tweets per moral-emotional word.

Transgender actors proved effective in training medical residents to provide more sensitive care to people with a different gender identity than the one they were assigned at birth. Disadvantaged youth who believed that the American socioeconomic system was fair were found to develop lower self-esteem, engage in risky behaviors, and become less attentive in the classroom over the course of middle school. A survey that asked people to rate films revealed that taste in movies is highly idiosyncratic, and that audiences and critics tend not to agree. 

Anthropologist Shara Bailey was part of an international research team that uncovered and analyzed 300,000-year-old bones of Homo sapiens in Morocco—a find that represents the oldest reliably dated fossil evidence of our species. NYU chemists discovered a new crystal form of DDT that could be more effective against insects—and potentially safer for humans and the environment—than the one currently used as a pesticide. Digital games created by researchers at the NYU Game Center and elsewhere were shown to help Syrian refugee children improve language proficiency and executive function, as well as reduce feelings of despair and hopelessness. 

In medicine, researchers identified specific brain circuits that "mediate" between chemical changes associated with PTSD, zeroed in on a specific immune response that can help reverse the effects of "bad cholesterol" that blocks arteries, and revealed new details about a faulty tumor suppressing gene that may drive cancer growth. Wagner's Victor Rodwin found that though Manhattanites' access to timely and effective outpatient care improved dramatically from 1999 to 2013, disparities in population health and health care due to income inequalities and geographically based poverty. 

A team of researchers including NYU chemist Lara Mahal pinpointed a sugar modification in cells that spurs the spread of skin cancer, and NYU biologist Sevinc Ercan and colleagues offered insights into how multiple genomic elements work cooperatively and over long distances to ensure the proper functioning of chromosomes. 

A report by the Research Alliance for New York City Schools showed that on-time graduation rates rose from 47 percent in 2005 to 70 percent in 2016, though gaps in outcome associated with gender and neighborhood have persisted and differences based on race or ethnicity may have worsened. Applied psychology professor Tamarie Macon led a study that found that both structural circumstances (such as income and education levels) and personal beliefs were factors in how much time fathers spent engaged in various activities with their children. And Steinhardt researchers also showed that bilingual children are better than their monolingual peers at processing information about a talker's voice—and recognizing who is speaking.