News & Comment

  • Comment |

    Basic income is a democratizing reform that is long overdue. A guarantee of basic security is necessary to allow people to stand as more independent. Other institutional adjustments are needed, but basic income will help other policies designed to support human development to be more effective.

    • Louise Haagh
  • Comment |

    We recommend the widespread use of a simple, inexpensive, easy-to-implement, and uniquely powerful tool to improve the transparency and reproducibility of behavioural research — video recordings.

    • Rick O. Gilmore
    •  & Karen E. Adolph
  • Editorial |

    The steep rise in global terror necessitates a deeper scientific understanding of the terrorist profile and evidence-based deradicalization programmes.

  • Comment |

    Deradicalization programmes are the cornerstone of counter-terrorism strategies in many countries, yet few have been evaluated for their effectiveness. Stakeholders must introduce standards to ensure basic elements are in place, such as programme development, staff training, advisory services, and transparency.

    • Daniel Koehler
  • News and Views |

    Sleep consolidates newly acquired motor skills, leading to improvements in performance after sleep. A study now finds that similar performance improvements following sleep can rely on different neural mechanisms depending on the properties of the learning task.

    • Susanne Diekelmann
  • News and Views |

    A key question in human evolution is the role of language in Early Stone Age toolmaking. A neuroimaging study now shows that Acheulian and Oldowan toolmaking recruit brain areas associated with different functions. The brain's language network is most strongly engaged when toolmaking is learned through verbal training.

    • Natalie Uomini
  • Editorial |

    Science must remain non-partisan, but it cannot — and should not — be disengaged from the society it serves.

  • Comment |

    Should human genome editing be limited to somatic cells, or should germline genome editing also be permitted? Should (apparently) permissible human genome editing be limited to therapeutic purposes, or should enhancement purposes also be permitted? Who decides, and on what basis?

    • Françoise Baylis
  • Comment |

    Brainstorming was developed over 60 years ago, along with its key concept that ‘no idea is a bad idea’. But could the opposite be true, is brainstorming stifling, rather than unleashing, our creativity? In environments in which ideas go unchallenged, there are techniques that can improve creativity by encouraging criticism.

    • David Burkus
  • News and Views |

    Extraordinary altruists risk their own health and life to help anonymous strangers. A study now shows that extraordinary altruists are motivated to do good to distant others not because they feel socially closer to them, but because they genuinely care more for the welfare of strangers.

    • Tobias Kalenscher
  • News and Views |

    Social learning is a crucial building block of human culture, but how and why do people vary in their propensity to learn from others? Experiments in Ethiopia suggest that pastoralists rely more on others' knowledge than do horticulturalists.

    • Alex Mesoudi
  • Comment |

    Slavery is not a thing of the past but has simply morphed from chattel slavery into forced labour and debt bondage. While consumers are preoccupied with cheap labour and goods, and businesses aren't held accountable for their supply chains, we continue to fuel this US$150 billion profit-making industry.

    • Andrew Wallis
  • Comment |

    Language is a common underlying cause of conflict in multi-ethnic societies. Facilitated dialogue — a method of conflict mediation — is being used in countries such as Myanmar to mitigate language-based conflict, acknowledge language rights, and encourage societies to adopt a culture of dialogue.

    • Joseph Lo Bianco
  • News and Views |

    Research now shows that human social networks surrounding a person who unexpectedly dies recover from the loss through strengthening of the relationships between friends and acquaintances of the deceased individual. The study demonstrates how individuals change their interaction patterns to support one another during a time of grief.

    • Robert Bond
  • News and Views |

    Functional magnetic resonance imaging and social network analysis show that on viewing familiar individuals in a small social network, the brain activates regions critical for inferring mental states and intentions, as well as regions associated with spatial navigation and psychological distance.

    • James P. Curley
    •  & Kevin N. Ochsner