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May 31, 2006

PRESCHOOLERS SLOW TO CALL PEOPLE ‘MEAN’ – Young children are reluctant to describe someone as mean, according to new research by Wake Forest University psychologist Janet Boseovski. The study, published in the May issue of Developmental Psychology, evaluated how much information preschoolers need before they assign a negative or positive characteristic to someone. Boseovski and co-researcher Kang Lee of the University of California at San Diego found that young children, ages 3 to 6, were willing to generalize that a person is good or nice or kind because they were nice one time. “The children give the benefit of the doubt and attribute niceness, but not meanness, based on a single behavior,” Boseovski said. “Knowing how young children judge other people is important for the design and implementation of street-proofing programs. While it is adaptive for young children to see the world in a positive way, because it encourages them to try new things and also fosters the formation of social relationships, it is also a concern in that they may be too trusting of strangers and acquaintances.”

Contact: Cheryl Walker, or (336) 758-5237.

MARTHA IN LATTIMORE’ TO BE SCREENED AT PRESTIGIOUS FILM FESTIVAL – The documentary about Martha Mason, a Wake Forest graduate who has lived with the assistance of an iron lung for more than 57 years, will be screened at SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival in Silver Spring, Md. The festival, considered to be one of the top international documentary film festivals in the United States, runs June 13-18 and is a collaboration of the American Film Institute (AFI) and the Discovery Channel. “Martha in Lattimore” will be shown as part of a collection of short films at noon June 14 and 9:30 p.m. June 15. Two Wake Forest professors, Mary Dalton and Michelle Gillespie, worked together on the film. “We are extremely honored to be a part of SILVERDOCS,” said Dalton, who directed the film. Wake Forest alumni who worked on the film include George Reasner and Robert Costner. “Martha in Lattimore” is one of at least two films being shown at SILVERDOCS with ties to North Carolina, and one of 95 films selected out of a pool of 1,700 for the festival. For festival information, go to

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or (336) 758-5237.

RISING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS STUDY SCIENCE, MATH AT WFU – More than 50 rising high school students from the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system are taking part in the SciMax Student Enrichment Institute at Wake Forest from June 19-30. During the two-week program, students will carry out fun science and math experiments and hear from locals working in science and math related fields. SciMax, a program funded by the National Science Foundation and organized in partnership by Wake Forest and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, brings rising high school students, who have been nominated by their middle school teachers, to Wake Forest in an effort to prepare them for the rigors of high school science and math courses, while also increasing their enjoyment of science and math. “One of the great things about this program is that we use exciting activities that get the students engaged,” said Angela King, senior lecturer in chemistry at Wake Forest and director of the program. “The students get excited about the activities they do, while they are learning the principles behind the activities and they are gaining academic skills that will serve them in all of their classes in high school.” This year’s experiments include dissection of fetal pigs, simulating population growth by using a bag of Skittles candy, and applying math principles to construct a catapult for launching Gummi Bears.

Contact: Jacob McConnico, or (336) 758-5237.

WFU HOSTS MAJOR INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE CONFERENCE – More than 115 researchers from about 18 different countries will gather at Wake Forest June 26-30 for the 7th International Conference on Excitonic Processes in Condensed Matter. The series of EXCON conferences, held in even number years, started in 1994 in Darwin, Australia. This is only the second time the conference has been held in the United States. Richard Williams, Reynolds Professor of Physics at Wake Forest and conference chairman, said the event brings together researchers from a variety of basic and applied fields. The conference participants share a common concern with the conversion of light to excited electrons and the conversion of excited electrons back to light in a variety of materials, lumped together in the conference title as “condensed matter.” An exciton is a bound state of an electron and an imaginary particle called an “electron hole” in an insulator or semiconductor. Excitons are at the heart of modern laser diodes used in optical communications, optical memories and CD players, as well as photosynthesis and radiation damage. The study of excitons and how they react has wide implications in the development of organic and inorganic light emitters for different types of displays – personal computer screens, cell phones, televisions and other electronic devices. There are also implications in X-ray imaging and quantum computing. The Japanese are particularly interested in the potential applications for use in technology. More than 60 of the conference participants are from Japan.

Contact: Jacob McConnico, or (336) 758-5237.

Press Contacts:

Jacob McConnico
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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