News & Comment

  • Comment |

    Mental health technologies, such as apps, clinical texting, social media platforms and web-based tools, have arrived. Channelling these resources to help people with serious mental illnesses, clinicians in need of support, and people in low-and middle-income countries will have the most impact on the global burden of mental illness.

    • Dror Ben-Zeev
    •  & David C. Atkins
  • Editorial |

    A paper in this issue identifies a persistent influence of irrelevant information in social contexts, which results in biased and unfair judgements. These widespread social biases can be insidious as they inadvertently enter research and policy.

  • News and Views |

    In the United States, direct-to-consumer advertisements for medications must disclose each specific side-effect risk. A new study demonstrates a counterintuitive dilution effect: people perceive drug descriptions that include both serious and trivial side effects as less risky than descriptions that only list serious side effects.

    • Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher
  • News and Views |

    A new study shows that brain responses to unfairness during economic decision-making can predict current and future depression indices. Neural response patterns in the amygdala related to inequity tracked indices of depression, particularly for prosocial individuals who tend to be most self-sacrificing.

    • Megan E. Speer
    •  & Mauricio R. Delgado
  • News and Views |

    It is easier to make sense of the visual environment if we know where to look. Eye movement measurements show just how quickly we can find the informative parts of a scene, even when we do not know what to expect.

    • Kyle R. Cave
  • News and Views |

    A quasi-experimental study of the generalized enforcement of low-level violations in New York City finds that proactive policing increases crime. This finding suggests the importance of taking a careful look at aggressive enforcement approaches used by police to reduce crime as they may be causing harm in urban communities.

    • David Weisburd
  • Comment |

    Introduction of genetic evidence of a predisposition to violent or impulsive behaviour is on the rise in criminal trials. However, a panoply of data suggests that such evidence is ineffective at reducing judgements of culpability and punishment, and therefore its use in the legal process is likely to diminish.

    • Nicholas Scurich
    •  & Paul S. Appelbaum
  • Comment |

    Moral outrage is an ancient emotion that is now widespread on digital media and online social networks. How might these new technologies change the expression of moral outrage and its social consequences?

    • M. J. Crockett
  • Comment |

    Plastic pollution is caused exclusively by humans. It poses growing global threats to both the ocean and society, and requires urgent action. Using psychological principles can motivate and implement change by connecting symptoms and sources.

    • Sabine Pahl
    • , Kayleigh J. Wyles
    •  & Richard C. Thompson
  • Comment |

    Advances in technology and the advent of social media have led to the emergence of a new phenomenon — cyberbullying. Although there are some similarities, approaches to tackling traditional bullying are largely ineffective in combating cyberbullying, which has been linked to adverse mental health and, in extreme cases, suicide.

    • Jean-Baptiste Pingault
    •  & Tabea Schoeler
  • Editorial |

    No amount of engineering, laws or regulations will be sufficient to sustain the commons without a deeper understanding of how, when and under what conditions humans cooperate.

  • Comment |

    We ask a lot of our brains and they comply, carrying out petaflops of computations per second. A substantial amount of this processing power is devoted to sound processing — a process that is therefore vulnerable, but also repairable.

    • Nina Kraus
    •  & Trent Nicol
  • Comment |

    Self-driving cars offer a bright future, but only if the public can overcome the psychological challenges that stand in the way of widespread adoption. We discuss three: ethical dilemmas, overreactions to accidents, and the opacity of the cars’ decision-making algorithms — and propose steps towards addressing them.

    • Azim Shariff
    • , Jean-François Bonnefon
    •  & Iyad Rahwan
  • News and Views |

    Many studies have shown that human cooperation is fostered by altruistic cooperation and the altruistic punishment of freeriders. A study now shows significant asymmetries between cooperation in the initial provision of a social good and cooperation in the maintenance of an established social good.

    • Herbert Gintis