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Latest Research

  • Article |

    In a study of Google News, Fischer et al. show that, unless users explicitly search for local terms, national outlets dominate, directing attention away from local news. This divide exacerbates existing news inequalities detrimental to civic health.

    • Sean Fischer
    • , Kokil Jaidka
    •  & Yphtach Lelkes
  • Article |

    Using a cultural evolutionary model, this paper proposes that organizations producing goods and services—both ancient craft guilds and modern firms—evolved because they facilitate the accumulation of culture. Ethnographic data support the predictions.

    • Francisco Brahm
    •  & Joaquin Poblete
  • Article |

    In examining the impacts of the plain packaging tobacco law in Australia, Sun and colleagues uncover unintended negative consequences. In response to the policy, smokers switched from expensive to cheap cigarettes, and as smoking became less costly, they consumed more cigarettes.

    • David Underwood
    • , Sizhong Sun
    •  & Riccardo A. M. H. M. Welters
  • Article |

    Do human confidence judgments follow Bayesian principles? Using a task in which confidence is not reported on a scale but used to inform decisions, Lisi et al. find that behaviour is better explained by discrete confidence levels than Bayesian probability.

    • Matteo Lisi
    • , Gianluigi Mongillo
    • , Georgia Milne
    • , Tessa Dekker
    •  & Andrei Gorea
  • Article |

    Cheyette and Piantadosi present a model of numerosity perception and find that core properties of number processing can be derived as optimal information processing with memory limits.

    • Samuel J. Cheyette
    •  & Steven T. Piantadosi

News & Comment

  • News & Views |

    Probabilistic mixture models have contributed significantly to advancements in visual working memory research in recent decades. In a new paper, Schurgin and colleagues revisit the basic assumptions of mixture models and suggest that we cannot understand memory without first considering perception.

    • Blaire Dube
    •  & Julie D. Golomb
  • Comment |

    Twitter announced on 18 June 2019 that it would remove the precise geotagging feature in tweets. In addition to protecting the location privacy of users, this change also affects human behaviour studies based on geotagged tweets. We discuss the potential impact of Twitter’s decision and how researchers can respond to this change.

    • Yingjie Hu
    •  & Ruo-Qian Wang
  • Correspondence |

    The world is waiting for a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. In anticipation of successful trial results, preparations are being made for an unprecedented effort to achieve universal coverage and protection. But the interim measures to mitigate COVID-19 have brought their own severe and negative aftershocks. Global lockdowns and closures of schools and protective services have shone light on the vulnerability of children. Challenges of parenting under the strain of the epidemic are near-universal, and most harsh parenting is not malicious, but triggered by stress, poverty and mental health distress. In the extreme, the situation of fragile families affected by violence and neglect has worsened1, abusers have had increased impunity and victims have been cut off from supportive teachers, social workers and friends. The looming economic fallout and uncertainty is adding yet more pressure onto such family settings, with lifetime and intergenerational consequences for the children affected. But there is a cost-effective and scalable response.

    • Benjamin Perks
    •  & Lucie D. Cluver
  • Comment |

    The impact of pandemics is magnified by the coexistence of two contradicting reactions to rare dire risks: panic and the ‘it won’t happen to me’ effect that hastens spread of the disease. We review research that clarifies the conditions that trigger the two biases, and we highlight the potential of gentle rule enforcement policies that can address these problematic conditions.

    • Ido Erev
    • , Ori Plonsky
    •  & Yefim Roth

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.

Nature events Directory

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