The effect of culture on individual perceptual mechanisms

The goal of our project is to examine how culture, as represented by language, can affect low-level perceptual function--in our case hearing. Although studies of low-level perception have assumed that it is largely universal, there have been reports that lower-level perceptual function varies between cultures. Here we put forward and test the hypothesis that the effect of language milieu on perception is via a process called ensemble perception.

The Emergence of Public Controversies in Science, Technology & Medicine: A New Methodological Paradigm

Our project offers an empirical study of public controversies regarding science, technology and medicine. We focus on emblematic case studies in environmental ethics (pesticides), bioethics (vaccines), data ethics (facial recognition) and innovation ethics (smart meters). Our study aims to develop an integrated methodological paradigm for analyzing public controversies regarding science, technology and medicine and theorizing the role of the the media, scientific community and government policy in determining the course and outcome of such controversies.

From epic wildfires to epic flash-floods: Rethinking flood risk management in an era of extremes

Linking social and applied sciences, this project includes interdisciplinary research on flood risk management, with a focus on California and southern France, regions affected by flash floods. We propose to develop new approaches to assess and manage flash floods after wildfires through improved understanding of the physical and social factors that affect the occurrence of these events.

Geographic variations in the length of life: Comparing France and the United States

In the current context of increasing disparities in mortality within the most developed countries and given the growing divergence in trends at the national level between the United States and other high-income countries, the purpose of the proposed project is dual. First, we will build two databases of historical mortality indicators at the regional level in France (for the départements) and in the United states (for the counties) using the same set of methods.

Evolutions of personal networks across time: A comparison between France and the USA

This project aims to compare and understand the evolution of sociability and personal networks in France and the United States of America. It aims to share data collected in both countries and to articulate two scales: a macro-sociological analysis of the evolution of personal networks and sociability over the past 30 years in both countries and a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the evolution of personal networks along life courses based on very detailed data on a small sample.

The Social Life of the Sediment Balance: A Social and Geomorphic Approach to the Transformation of River Systems and Deltas*

Interdisciplinary scholarship on river systems and society is usually concerned with water flows, but rarely with sediment balance. Sediments, however, are essential component of river systems and their deltas, providing sediment needed to sustain river channels to balance delta subsidence and coastal erosion. Hydroelectric dams, canals, sand and gravel mining, and other human uses alter sediment fluxes, resulting in sediment starvation that causes undermining of bridges and other infrastructure, coastal erosion and retreat of many the world’s river deltas, and loss of ecological values.

New Directions in Himalayan Studies

This project aims to help develop Himalayan Studies at UC Berkeley in partnership with the Centre d'Etudes Himalayennes (CEH) of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France, which is providing matching funds. For this we are hosting a workshop at Berkeley that will bring together experts from both institutions, including graduate students, working on the Himalayan region in the Humanities and Social Sciences.