Sarah Ostresh, Yale University

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Latest Research

  • Article |

    Individuals are willing to punish antisocial others even at a personal cost. Marshall et al. examine the motivational basis of this behaviour from a developmental standpoint, showing that children—like adults—punish others for both retributive and consequentialist reasons.

    • Julia Marshall
    • , Daniel A. Yudkin
    •  & Molly J. Crockett
  • Article |

    Druckman et al. use a two-wave survey fielded before and during the COVID-19 pandemic to study the relationship between affective polarization and issue positions. They find an association between previous out-party animus and COVID-19 policy beliefs, and local context moderates this relationship.

    • James N. Druckman
    • , Samara Klar
    • , Yanna Krupnikov
    • , Matthew Levendusky
    •  & John Barry Ryan
  • Article |

    How does the ventral striatum encode value and effort? Here Suzuki et al. use functional magnetic resonance imaging with a naturalistic maze-navigation paradigm to reveal functionally segregated regions of the ventral striatum encoding effort activation, movement initiation and effort discounting.

    • Shosuke Suzuki
    • , Victoria M. Lawlor
    • , Jessica A. Cooper
    • , Amanda R. Arulpragasam
    •  & Michael T. Treadway
  • Perspective |

    How can we determine the best way of measuring a psychological construct? Bach et al. propose a ‘retrodictive validity’ approach, in which candidate methods are ranked based on their sensitivity to detect known effects, with the most sensitive then being favoured for use in novel scenarios.

    • Dominik R. Bach
    • , Filip Melinščak
    • , Stephen M. Fleming
    •  & Manuel C. Voelkle
  • Article |

    In their analysis of two datasets, Djonlagic et al. identify 23 objective sleep metrics that predict cognitive performance and processing speed in older adults.

    • Ina Djonlagic
    • , Sara Mariani
    • , Annette L. Fitzpatrick
    • , Veerle M. G. T. H. Van Der Klei
    • , Dayna A. Johnson
    • , Alexis C. Wood
    • , Teresa Seeman
    • , Ha T. Nguyen
    • , Michael J. Prerau
    • , José A. Luchsinger
    • , Joseph M. Dzierzewski
    • , Stephen R. Rapp
    • , Gregory J. Tranah
    • , Kristine Yaffe
    • , Katherine E. Burdick
    • , Katie L. Stone
    • , Susan Redline
    •  & Shaun M. Purcell
  • Article |

    How long does the average person sleep? Here, Kocevska et al. conducted a meta-analysis including over 1.1 million people to produce age- and sex-specific population reference charts for sleep duration and efficiency.

    • Desana Kocevska
    • , Thom S. Lysen
    • , Aafje Dotinga
    • , M. Elisabeth Koopman-Verhoeff
    • , Maartje P. C. M. Luijk
    • , Niki Antypa
    • , Nienke R. Biermasz
    • , Anneke Blokstra
    • , Johannes Brug
    • , Wiliam J. Burk
    • , Hannie C. Comijs
    • , Eva Corpeleijn
    • , Hassan S. Dashti
    • , Eduard J. de Bruin
    • , Ron de Graaf
    • , Ivonne P. M. Derks
    • , Julia F. Dewald-Kaufmann
    • , Petra J. M. Elders
    • , Reinoldus J. B. J. Gemke
    • , Linda Grievink
    • , Lauren Hale
    • , Catharina A. Hartman
    • , Cobi J. Heijnen
    • , Martijn Huisman
    • , Anke Huss
    • , M. Arfan Ikram
    • , Samuel E. Jones
    • , Mariska Klein Velderman
    • , Maaike Koning
    • , Anne Marie Meijer
    • , Kim Meijer
    • , Raymond Noordam
    • , Albertine J. Oldehinkel
    • , Joost Oude Groeniger
    • , Brenda W. J. H. Penninx
    • , H. Susan J. Picavet
    • , Sara Pieters
    • , Sijmen A. Reijneveld
    • , Ellen Reitz
    • , Carry M. Renders
    • , Gerda Rodenburg
    • , Femke Rutters
    • , Matt C. Smith
    • , Amika S. Singh
    • , Marieke B. Snijder
    • , Karien Stronks
    • , Margreet ten Have
    • , Jos W. R. Twisk
    • , Dike Van de Mheen
    • , Jan van der Ende
    • , Kristiaan B. van der Heijden
    • , Peter G. van der Velden
    • , Frank J. van Lenthe
    • , Raphaële R. L. van Litsenburg
    • , Sandra H. van Oostrom
    • , Frank J. van Schalkwijk
    • , Connor M. Sheehan
    • , Robert A. Verheij
    • , Frank C. Verhulst
    • , Marije C. M. Vermeulen
    • , Roel C. H. Vermeulen
    • , W. M. Monique Verschuren
    • , Tanja G. M. Vrijkotte
    • , Alet H. Wijga
    • , Agnes M. Willemen
    • , Maike ter Wolbeek
    • , Andrew R. Wood
    • , Yllza Xerxa
    • , Wichor M. Bramer
    • , Oscar H. Franco
    • , Annemarie I. Luik
    • , Eus J. W. Van Someren
    •  & Henning Tiemeier

News & Comment

  • World View |

    Doubly marginalized by race and gender, Black women expend vital energy managing stereotypes. Black women should be able to succeed in ways that affirm rather than negate their identities, argues Ebony Omotola McGee.

    • Ebony Omotola McGee
  • World View |

    The involvement of girls and women in the development of science and technology is vital to achieving sustainable development goals in Africa. Identifying the barriers preventing their participation and mapping strategies to overcome these barriers could proffer the way forward, explains Francisca N. Okeke

    • Francisca N. Okeke
  • News & Views |

    A study in Nature Human Behaviour proposes a biologically plausible algorithm producing near-optimal behaviour in uncertain and volatile environments through computational imprecision. A complementary study in the same issue shows that, depending on context, uncertainty itself guides different decisions and is differentially represented in the brain.

    • Markus Ullsperger
  • World View |

    Efforts to eliminate anti-Black racism in academia must go far beyond superficial ticking of boxes. The academic community must create conditions for authentic, not tokenistic, Black engagement, argues Tony Reames.

    • Tony G. Reames
  • Comment |

    The year 2020 has been marked by unprecedented cascading traumas, including the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic recession, race-driven social unrest and weather-related disasters. Mental health consequences of direct and media-based exposure to compounding stressors may be profound. Policymakers must act to ease the burden of trauma to protect public health.

    • Roxane Cohen Silver
    • , E. Alison Holman
    •  & Dana Rose Garfin

About the Journal

  • Nature Human Behaviour publishes research of outstanding significance into any aspect of human behaviour: its psychological, biological, and social bases, as well as its origins, development, and disorders. The journal aims to enhance the visibility of research into human behaviour, strengthening its societal reach and impact.

  • We publish a range of content types including original research articles, Reviews, Perspectives, Comments, World Views, News & Views, Correspondences, and Research Highlights that elaborate on significant advances in the field and cover topical issues.

  • Nature Human Behaviour is staffed by a dedicated team of professional editors, with relevant research backgrounds. It is led by Stavroula Kousta, formerly the Editor of Trends in Cognitive Sciences and Senior Editor at PLOS Biology, and also includes Aisha Bradshaw, Jamie Horder, Charlotte Payne, and Anne-Marike Schiffer.

  • In addition to our in-house editors, Nature Human Behaviour has an external advisory panel to assist journal development in science and policy.

  • Contact information for editorial staff, submissions, the press office, institutional access and advertising at Nature Human Behaviour


  • Witchcraft beliefs are and have been widespread in human societies, but what impact do they have on social interactions and what cultural evolutionary function might they serve? Field experiments and network data show that the witchcraft label ‘Zhu’ influences labour-sharing and reproductive choices in a large network of southwest Chinese villages. Zhu is not an indicator of prosociality, but may function to spite or damage rivals [1]. 1. Mace, R., Thomas, M.G., Wu, J., He, Q., Ji, T. & Tao, Yi. Nat. Hum. Behav. (2018)

  • An illustration of neurofeedback training guided by an animated scenario [1]. Real-time modulations in the amygdala electrical fingerprint signal are reflected by audiovisual changes in the unrest level of a virtual 3D scenario (a typical hospital waiting room), manifested as the ratio between characters sitting down and those loudly protesting at the counter. The video shows an example both for down- and up-regulation training; in the current study [1], only down-regulation training was conducted. The participant consented to appear in the video. 1. Keynan, J. N. et al. Nat Hum. Behav. (2018)

  • Cultural products have a life of their own: academic papers get cited and songs get downloaded. While scholars have studied these patterns, we know little about how to model the decay of attention. In this study Candia and colleagues model the attention received by cultural products, including scientific papers, patents, songs, movies, and biographies, and show that all these decay following a universal bi-exponential function, which may be due to the differing functions of communicative and cultural collective memory [1]. [1]Candia, C., Jara-Figueroa, C., Rodriguez-Sickert, C., Barabási, A.-L. & Hidalgo, C. A. Nat. Hum. Behav. (2018).


COVID-19 and human behaviour

GeorgePeters / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty

COVID-19 and human behaviour

Human behaviour has been critical in shaping the COVID-19 pandemic, and the actions of individuals, groups, nation states and international bodies all have a role to play in curbing its spread. This means that insights from behavioural, social and health sciences are and will continue to be invaluable throughout the course of the pandemic. In this Focus, we bring together original research and expert viewpoints from a broad spectrum of disciplines that provide insight into the causes, impacts, and mitigation of the pandemic, highlighting how research on individual and collective behaviour can contribute to an effective response.

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