Follow us on TwitterFind us on Facebook
Dietrich College News
Marianna Brown Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Carnegie Mellon University

January 2012
The Illusion of Courage: Why We Chicken Out
Illusion of CourageWhether it's investing in stocks, bungee jumping or public speaking, why do we often plan to take risks but then "chicken out" when the moment of truth arrives?  

In a new paper in the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, George Loewenstein and other scientists argue that this "illusion of courage" is one example of an "empathy gap" - that is, our inability to imagine how we will behave in future emotional situations. According to the empathy gap theory, when the moment of truth is far off you aren't feeling, and therefore are out of touch with, the fear you are likely to experience when push comes to shove.

Read more.

Center for the Arts in Society Launches New Media Initiative

CAS Media Initiative
It's no secret that the way media is being delivered and consumed is rapidly changing. Gone are the days when the only way to find out what's happening is to read the morning newspaper. Now, thanks to technology innovations, media is much more accessible and immediate. 

CMU's Center for the Arts in Society (CAS), a research center within the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and College of Fine Arts that investigates the role of arts in societies, is launching a new initiative to explore the role that new media - digital, networked, computer-mediated and social media - now play in social life, cultural politics and political mobilizations.


Read more.


Related articles:


Q&A with CAS Director Paul Eiss 


Listening Spaces, a project under the media initiative 

Lucky Letters: Statistics Scores Big With Scrabble Games

Words With FriendsIn Scrabble or the popular online game Words With Friends, the letter "Q" has a high 10-point value, but it's really more like a five-point penalty.

According to new research from Andrew C. Thomas, visiting assistant professor of statistics and Scrabble aficionado, "Q" is the worst tile to have and you will end up scoring less because of it. The best letters to have are S, Z and X.

Thomas' findings come from simulating roughly 10 million Scrabble games using an open-source artificial intelligence crossword game called "Quackle."

Read more.
Jane McCafferty Tackles Challenges of Marriage in Her New Novel
First You Try EverythingWhat would you do if your college sweetheart, the one you've been married to for more than a decade, suddenly decided he was over you?

In "First You Try Everything," award-winning author and Associate English Professor Jane McCafferty tells the story of a collapsing marriage and a wife determined to save it. Set in Pittsburgh, McCafferty uses both main characters' perspectives - Ben and Evvie - to explore the challenges each face now that their once tight bond over shared ideals has evaporated.


Read more

Alum Q&A: Kayt Sukel
Kayt SukelWe all know what love is. Or at least we think we do. But what actually goes on in our brains when we love someone?

Kayt Sukel (DC'95) got her degree in cognitive psychology and uses the latest research concerning love and sex to answer this and other questions in her new book, "Dirty Minds: How Our Brains Influence Love, Sex and Relationships."

Sukel, a passionate travel and science writer whose work has appeared in the "Atlantic Monthly," the "New Scientist," "USA Today," the "Washington Post," and many more, recently sat down with Dietrich College News to talk about her book.

Read more.

More Dietrich College News 

2012 Dietrich College Graduate Student Teaching Award Winners Announced

IS Students Build Inventory System for Free Ride Pittsburgh

New Book by CMU Professor and Former US Envoy to Africa Focuses on "Preventing Electoral Violence in Africa"

Q&A with Center for the Arts in Society Director Paul Eiss

What is "Listening Spaces?"

Two Dietrich College Alumni Helping To Reinvent Our Increasingly Digital World

Dietrich College Multimedia 

Photos: Chinese New Year Extravaganza

Photos: Jendayi Frazer: Voting Rights and Challenges in Africa & the U.S.

Dietrich College is on YouTube! View the most recent videos.
Class Notes

Please note, due to the college's name change to the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the indicia is now "DC."   


Find out what's going on with Dietrich College alumni, such as Leonard Hayes (DC'71), Judy Johnston (DC'72), Jennifer (Desmond) Wilson (DC'94), Erica Cherry (DC'12) and more.


Read alumni announcements.

Have something to share? Submit to Class Notes.
Personal Mention
Dietrich College Personal Mention shares accomplishments from the college's faculty and staff.  Included this month are Cleotilde Gonzalez, Heather Steffen, Yun (Helen) Zha, Jendayi Frazer and more.

Read Dietrich College Personal Mention.

Submit to Dietrich College Personal Mention.
Stay Connected with Dietrich College.
To stay connected between issues of Dietrich College News, you can follow us on Twitter and interact with alumni, faculty, staff and students on Facebook.

If you have story ideas, news to share or feedback, please feel free to send an email to Shilo Rea, Dietrich College public relations director.
"Shapira Challenge" To Benefit
Dietrich College
David Shapira, a Carnegie Mellon life trustee and former board chairman, along with his wife Cindy, and in collaboration with the Giant Eagle Foundation, are giving approximately $2.8 million to the Dietrich College via the Inspire Innovation Campaign.

Of this gift, $2 million will be used to endow the Humanities Scholars Program, and $800,000 will be used to provide a pool of matching funds as a means to encourage additional donors to the college.

Read Dean Lehoczky's full announcement.

We need your help - get involved.

Undergraduate Study Abroad Scholarships Available
The Dietrich College Dean's Office and the Department of Modern Languages are pleased to offer scholarships of up to $3,000 to encourage study abroad.

Undergraduate scholarships may be used for tuition, room and board, airfare and/or book expenses for any accredited study abroad program when going abroad in the Summer 2012, Fall 2012, and/or Spring 2013.

Find out more.
Save the Dates
A Conversation on Global Economics with Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank
Thurs., Feb. 9 at 4:30pm
Kresge Theater

The Nexus: Women, Religion, Race, and Civil Rights, 1920-1965
Fri., Feb 10 at 4:30pm
Steinberg Auditorium
BH A53

New Media/News Media
Wed., Feb. 15 at 4:30pm
Steinberg Auditorium
BH A53

More Than Slave Food: The African Roots of American Foodways
Thurs., Feb. 16 at 4:30pm
Rangos 3, UC
H&SS Renamed the Marianna Brown Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Marianna Brown Dietrich

Bill Dietrich's historic gift to Carnegie Mellon and the renaming of H&SS to the Marianna Brown Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
were featured in the
September 2011 issue of Dietrich College News.

Related: CMU Mourns Loss of "Great Friend," Bill Dietrich.

Previous Issues of Dietrich College News
Catch up with what's been happening in the Dietrich College.

Read previous issues of Dietrich College News.
Class Notes
Do you have personal or professional news to share? 

Let Dietrich College News know. 

Please include your name, year, major and details of your announcement.

Submit to Class Notes.

Read Class Notes.
Connect with Dietrich College
Join Our Mailing List