University of Massachusetts Amherst

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TAY GAVIN ERICKSON - The Arrival of Social Science Genomics

February 28, 2019 - 2:30pm to 4:00pm

Social science genomics is an emerging enterprise that involves using molecular genetic data to address social science questions. The field seems to be entering a new age with the advent of polygenic scores. Dr. Freese will define polygenic scores, why scientists are confident that they work in ways that previous approaches did not, and discuss what sorts of social science questions they may address. Dr. Freese will emphasize why polygenic scores are valuable for social science questions that do not involve genes per se. He will discuss polygenic scores in the context of the troubled history of invocations of genetic differences in social life, as well as concerns about ways that genetic information may be used now or in the near future.

Thursday, February 28, 2019 -
2:30pm to 4:00pm
Room 160E, Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst

Jeremy Freese, Professor, Department of Sociology, Stanford University

Jeremy Freese is a Professor in the Department of Sociology. His research includes broadly investigating in the relationship between social differences and individual differences, and between social advantage and embodied advantage.  This includes work differences in physical health, cognitive functioning, health behaviors, and the role of differential utilization of knowledge and innovations toward producing differences.  He is the co-leader of the Health Disparities Working Group for the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences. Additionally, he is part of ongoing efforts to better integrate biological and social science thinking evidenced by his work on how behavioral and molecular genetic information can be used to complement and elaborate our understanding of the consequences of social environments. Other areas of his work include examining how to improve the practice and conceptualization of social research.  This includes projects on best practices for survey research, how to improve participation in social surveys, and how to think more clearly about complex causal processes.  Lastly, his work has touched on studies and research regarding the rise of meta-analysis and open science.