Browse Articles

  • Comment |

    In 2017, Catalonia unilaterally declared independence from Spain. The independence push was not simply a bottom-up process wherein citizens increasingly demanded independence. Catalan political elites were more radical than voters and competitive outbidding to win hegemony in the pro-independence camp fuelled the independence push.

    • Astrid Barrio
    •  & Bonnie N. Field
  • Letter |

    Analyses of data from 211 independent, randomized controlled trials (N = 16,198,595) show that second-order normative beliefs—community members’ belief that saving energy helps the environment—play a critical role in promoting energy conservation.

    • Jon M. Jachimowicz
    • , Oliver P. Hauser
    • , Julia D. O’Brien
    • , Erin Sherman
    •  & Adam D. Galinsky
  • Letter |

    Siegel et al. describe an asymmetric Bayesian updating mechanism for moral impression formation, which shows that beliefs about badly behaved agents are more uncertain and therefore more flexible than beliefs about well-behaved agents.

    • Jenifer Z. Siegel
    • , Christoph Mathys
    • , Robb B. Rutledge
    •  & Molly J. Crockett
  • News & Views |

    We rapidly make inferences about the moral character of others. Observing a single immoral behaviour is often sufficient to make us think of them as morally ‘unworthy’. But our beliefs about others’ ‘badness’ (as opposed to ‘goodness’) are more uncertain. That is, we allow ourselves more space to re-assess and, if needed, rectify these beliefs.

    • Alexander Todorov
  • News & Views |

    In line with the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’, advantaged individuals recognize their privileged position and work to avoid collapsing a common pool resource, but they will not accept excessive free-riding by poorer individuals.

    • Rick K. Wilson
  • Letter |

    Thomas and colleagues show that toddlers preferred a puppet that had won a conflict against another puppet—but only when it won without using force. This suggests that toddlers consider social status when making social evaluations.

    • Ashley J. Thomas
    • , Lotte Thomsen
    • , Angela F. Lukowski
    • , Meline Abramyan
    •  & Barbara W. Sarnecka
  • Article |

    As children grow, so does their knowledge of language. Sizemore et al. describe knowledge gaps, manifesting as topological cavities, in toddlers’ growing semantic network. These gaps progress similarly, independent of the order in which children learn words.

    • Ann E. Sizemore
    • , Elisabeth A. Karuza
    • , Chad Giusti
    •  & Danielle S. Bassett
  • Editorial |

    Replication studies determine both the validity of scientific conclusions and provide insights into the type of methods and reporting that are necessary for robust results.

  • News & Views |

    How the brain processes parallel streams of information has been widely researched, yet remains unsolved. A new study shows that the brain processes informative cues in serial even when they are presented simultaneously, and that patterns of cortical activity shift under the constraints of rapid decisions to optimize processing.

    • John Pearson
  • Letter |

    In a compound climate change dilemma that allows some to earn a pre-game advantage, advantaged participants act prosocially later to maintain a public good, but the disadvantaged act antisocially, creating conflict that reduces cooperative success.

    • Reuben Kline
    • , Nicholas Seltzer
    • , Evgeniya Lukinova
    •  & Autumn Bynum
  • News & Views |

    Years of research has shown that children do not learn words at random, but in distinct patterns. Why do we observe the patterns that we do? By using network science and investigating the words that children don’t learn, researchers have potentially uncovered a general property of word learning as a process of gap forming and filling.

    • Thomas T. Hills
    •  & Cynthia S. Q. Siew
  • Review Article |

    Mental effort is traditionally a subject of psychological research. Kool and Botvinick discuss how recent attempts to study mental effort using concepts from behavioural economics have allowed researchers to better understand how costs and benefits drive when people invest mental effort.

    • Wouter Kool
    •  & Matthew Botvinick
  • News & Views |

    Network neuroscience has begun to generate fundamental insights into the structures and dynamics that lie beneath human cognition. Targeting the question what creates differences between humans, a study finds that individual differences in connectivity patterns in brain networks underlie individual differences in task performance.

    • Satu Palva
  • Letter |

    Brain networks are characterized by nodes and hubs that determine information flow within and between areas. Bertolero et al. show that task-driven changes to hub and node connectivity increase modularity and improve cognitive performance.

    • Maxwell A. Bertolero
    • , B. T. Thomas Yeo
    • , Danielle S. Bassett
    •  & Mark D’Esposito
  • Letter |

    Camerer et al. carried out replications of 21 Science and Nature social science experiments, successfully replicating 13 out of 21 (62%). Effect sizes of replications were about half of the size of the originals.

    • Colin F. Camerer
    • , Anna Dreber
    • , Felix Holzmeister
    • , Teck-Hua Ho
    • , Jürgen Huber
    • , Magnus Johannesson
    • , Michael Kirchler
    • , Gideon Nave
    • , Brian A. Nosek
    • , Thomas Pfeiffer
    • , Adam Altmejd
    • , Nick Buttrick
    • , Taizan Chan
    • , Yiling Chen
    • , Eskil Forsell
    • , Anup Gampa
    • , Emma Heikensten
    • , Lily Hummer
    • , Taisuke Imai
    • , Siri Isaksson
    • , Dylan Manfredi
    • , Julia Rose
    • , Eric-Jan Wagenmakers
    •  & Hang Wu
  • News & Views |

    It is important for research users to know how likely it is that reported research findings are true. The Social Science Replication Project finds that, in highly powered experiments, only 13 of 21 high-profile reports could be replicated. Investigating the factors that contribute to reliable results offers new opportunities for the social sciences.

    • Malcolm R. Macleod
  • Letter |

    Akbarzadeh and Estrada mathematically characterize the properties of traffic flow and find that, in four different cities, there is more traffic not through the shortest paths, but through the communicability shortest paths, which assume an ‘all-routes’ flow.

    • Meisam Akbarzadeh
    •  & Ernesto Estrada
  • World View |

    Although global spending in response to humanitarian crises is growing, humanitarian assistance is under threat from political, economic and security sources. To protect the principles of humanitarian assistance, we must ensure that it remains neutral, impartial and independent, argues Johan von Schreeb.

    • Johan von Schreeb
  • World View |

    People who have abortions have been silenced in a way that impoverishes our abortion debate, says Katie Watson.

    • Katie Watson
  • Editorial |

    The scientific community needs to engage actively in the debate regarding the status of video game loot boxes and the potential risks they present for vulnerable populations.

  • Article |

    Rutherford et al. analyse temporal, network and hierarchical effects to uncover, understand and quantify competing mechanisms of constitutional change worldwide.

    • Alex Rutherford
    • , Yonatan Lupu
    • , Manuel Cebrian
    • , Iyad Rahwan
    • , Brad L. LeVeck
    •  & Manuel Garcia-Herranz
  • News & Views |

    A study finds association between the occurrence of intimate partner violence and marital fertility among Tsimané forager-horticulturalists, independent of proximate explanations, suggesting that intimate partner violence may persist as an evolutionary strategy to enhance male fitness.

    • Elizabeth G. Pillsworth
  • Perspective |

    Human infants need a social environment to survive as they rely on caregivers to maintain allostasis. This Perspective proposes that the need of others to regulate physiological changes determines brain development, not only in the social domain.

    • Shir Atzil
    • , Wei Gao
    • , Isaac Fradkin
    •  & Lisa Feldman Barrett
  • Letter |

    A study of intimate partner violence among the Tsimané forager-horticulturalists of Bolivia finds evidence that male aggression is leveraged to increase marital fertility and a man’s individual fitness when spouses differ in preferred family size.

    • Jonathan Stieglitz
    • , Benjamin C. Trumble
    • , Hillard Kaplan
    •  & Michael Gurven
  • Perspective |

    The success of humans as the last surviving species of the hominin clade may be explained by our ecological plasticity. Roberts and Stewart review evidence for human dispersal 300,000–12,000 years before present and propose that humans thrived via a unique ‘generalist specialist’ ecological niche.

    • Patrick Roberts
    •  & Brian A. Stewart
  • World View |

    New research shows that historical notions of scientific inferiority still underlie contemporary beliefs about scientific talent, or lack of it, in women and minority groups. If we do not address these biases, we are upholding an unhealthy system, argues Heather Metcalf.

    • Heather Metcalf
  • World View |

    Revelations of sexual harassment, sexism and unequal pay in film and broadcasting have called ‘time’s up’ on the myths of egalitarianism that circulate about the creative sector, argues Rosalind Gill.

    • Rosalind Gill
  • Review Article |

    Cullati and colleagues propose a framework to understand vulnerability in later life as a product of biological, psychological, cognitive, emotional, economical and relational ‘reserves’ built up over a lifetime, which can be called on to buffer against or recover from adversity.

    • Stéphane Cullati
    • , Matthias Kliegel
    •  & Eric Widmer