Browse Articles

  • Letter |

    By analysing data from more than 4,500 9- to 10-year-olds, Dick et al. found no evidence that bilingual children have an advantage in executive functions, the cognitive abilities that are central to the voluntary control of thoughts and behaviours.

    • Anthony Steven Dick
    • , Nelcida L. Garcia
    • , Shannon M. Pruden
    • , Wesley K. Thompson
    • , Samuel W. Hawes
    • , Matthew T. Sutherland
    • , Michael C. Riedel
    • , Angela R. Laird
    •  & Raul Gonzalez
  • News & Views |

    Researchers debate whether the adoption of agriculture was done at the expense of leisure time. A new study in ten camps of contemporary Agta hunter-gatherers actually finds that individuals who engage more in non-foraging activities have less leisure time. Results highlight the need to consider the evolutionary costs of the transition to agriculture.

    • Victoria Reyes-García
  • News & Views |

    While simple contagions spread efficiently from highly connected ‘influencers’, new research has revealed another kind of spreading process, that of complex contagions, which follows surprisingly different pathways to disperse through social networks.

    • Damon Centola
  • News & Views |

    Anxiety, ‘the disease of the 21st century’, is a clinical enigma. Using virtual predators to create real-world threat scenarios, two new studies build on prior rodent-based anxiety theory to map effects of personality and decision complexity in human prefrontal cortex. We may soon have coherent neural maps of these disabling and costly psychiatric disorders.

    • Neil McNaughton
  • Article |

    How does the number of connections a person has online influence how news spreads? Wang et al. show that users with few connections can sometimes spread news more effectively than well-connected users, resulting in long, dendrite-like diffusion paths and a non-Gaussian distribution of node distances.

    • Xiaochen Wang
    • , Yueheng Lan
    •  & Jinghua Xiao
  • World View |

    Open educational resources enable the effective use and sharing of knowledge with those who have been denied an education due to economic or social circumstances. Sarita Kumar outlines how open educational resources can benefit education systems across the Global South by opening up an entire generation to new ideas, technologies and advancements.

    • Sarita Kumar
  • Letter |

    Fung et al. show that participants’ trait anxiety is associated with earlier escape decisions when facing slowly approaching threats. Anxiety correlates with task-driven blood-oxygen-level-dependent activity in the cognitive fear circuits.

    • Bowen J. Fung
    • , Song Qi
    • , Demis Hassabis
    • , Nathaniel Daw
    •  & Dean Mobbs
  • Letter |

    Attention and working memory both fluctuate over time. Here deBettencourt et al. demonstrate that fluctuations in attention and memory in distinct tasks are synchronous, providing additional evidence for the tight integration of these cognitive processes.

    • Megan T. deBettencourt
    • , Paul A. Keene
    • , Edward Awh
    •  & Edward K. Vogel
  • Editorial |

    A persistent Eurocentric bias in genomic studies means that advances in genomics research stand to benefit the few, not all. We need to change this.

  • Letter |

    Using data from Michigan, Harding et al. find no evidence that prison sentences have an effect on arrests or convictions for violent crimes after release. Imprisonment modestly reduced violence if the analysis included imprisonment’s incapacitation effects.

    • David J. Harding
    • , Jeffrey D. Morenoff
    • , Anh P. Nguyen
    • , Shawn D. Bushway
    •  & Ingrid A. Binswanger
  • World View |

    There has been a divide between scientists making recommendations for sustainable natural resource development and the community living around those resources. Masami Nakagawa argues that the community should be considered first, as the successful development of sustainable natural resources requires their cooperation and trust.

    • Masami Nakagawa
  • News & Views |

    Every person develops brain regions to recognize people, places and things; these regions end up in similar locations across brains. However, people who played Pokémon extensively as children also have a region that responds more to Pokémon than anything else, and its location is likely determined by the size of the Pokémon on the video game player’s screen.

    • Daniel Janini
    •  & Talia Konkle
  • Perspective |

    Why do people engage in collective decisions? El Zein, Bahrami & Hertwig argue that—through sharing responsibility—joint decisions protect individuals from possible negative consequences of difficult decisions by reducing regret and stress and helping avoid punishment.

    • Marwa El Zein
    • , Bahador Bahrami
    •  & Ralph Hertwig
  • Perspective |

    How do people seek to reduce uncertainty in social interactions? FeldmanHall & Shenhav propose a three-part model: first through more automatic impression formation, then more effortful perspective-taking, and finally by seeking and learning about additional information that can update their predictions

    • Oriel FeldmanHall
    •  & Amitai Shenhav
  • Comment |

    Although low- and middle-income countries experience more adversity, and this is associated with higher rates of mental health problems, most people in these countries cannot access evidence-based mental health care. There are opportunities to implement affordable evidence-based programs in ways that are sustainable in low- and middle-income countries.

    • Richard A. Bryant
  • Letter |

    Kobayashi et al. show that when options are defined by multiple attributes, people are curious about individual attributes regardless of the uncertainty of the total outcome, revealing a distinct type of anticipatory utility that shapes curiosity.

    • Kenji Kobayashi
    • , Silvio Ravaioli
    • , Adrien Baranès
    • , Michael Woodford
    •  & Jacqueline Gottlieb
  • Article |

    Simple choices are biased by looking behaviour. This work investigates individual differences in this gaze bias across four datasets and shows that gaze biases are variable and that their strength reliably predicts differences in individuals’ choices.

    • Armin W. Thomas
    • , Felix Molter
    • , Ian Krajbich
    • , Hauke R. Heekeren
    •  & Peter N. C. Mohr
  • Letter |

    Research into emotion dynamics and well-being has, over the years, used an increasing number of dynamic measures to capture emotional change. Dejonckheere et al. show that these measures add little to the information conveyed by mean affect and its variance.

    • Egon Dejonckheere
    • , Merijn Mestdagh
    • , Marlies Houben
    • , Isa Rutten
    • , Laura Sels
    • , Peter Kuppens
    •  & Francis Tuerlinckx
  • News & Views |

    We know that curiosity is a strong driver of behaviour, but we know relatively little about its underlying motives. A new study shows that human curiosity may be driven by diverse motives. While some individuals are primarily motivated to form accurate beliefs, others rather seek information that makes them feel good.

    • Lieke L. F. van Lieshout
    • , Floris P. de Lange
    •  & Roshan Cools
  • News & Views |

    How can we improve citizenship rates among low-income immigrants? While reducing costs helps, a new study suggests that an information nudge about eligibility for such fee waivers can result in a significant increase in naturalization applications among low-income individuals in the US.

    • Manuel Pastor
  • Editorial |

    We want Nature Human Behaviour to be a platform for important science, comment and opinion from around the globe. To achieve this, we need your help.

  • Article |

    Zusai and Wu show that a modelling framework that treats subpopulations as the basic unit of analysis and uses a potential game approach provides a tractable way to study the evolutionary dynamics of behaviours and migration in connected populations.

    • Jiabin Wu
    •  & Dai Zusai
  • Comment |

    Against those who believe democracy is unable to address climate change effectively, we argue that a more deeply deliberative democracy can better equip the world to meet the challenge.

    • John S. Dryzek
    •  & Simon Niemeyer
  • Letter |

    Data from a cohort of US and UK adolescents reveal that genetic and neighbourhood risks for early pregnancy and educational attainment are correlated, but find a weak or no correlation between risks for obesity or schizophrenia.

    • Daniel W. Belsky
    • , Avshalom Caspi
    • , Louise Arseneault
    • , David L. Corcoran
    • , Benjamin W. Domingue
    • , Kathleen Mullan Harris
    • , Renate M. Houts
    • , Jonathan S. Mill
    • , Terrie E. Moffitt
    • , Joseph Prinz
    • , Karen Sugden
    • , Jasmin Wertz
    • , Benjamin Williams
    •  & Candice L. Odgers
  • Letter |

    Neidorf et al. analyse the style of all surviving Old English poetry. They find quantitative evidence that a single author composed Beowulf and that the poem Andreas was written by Cynewulf—two longstanding questions of English literary history.

    • Leonard Neidorf
    • , Madison S. Krieger
    • , Michelle Yakubek
    • , Pramit Chaudhuri
    •  & Joseph P. Dexter
  • Resource |

    Behaviour-change theories need to be more precisely specified. Five of the major theories can be formally represented using a system involving construct labels, construct definitions and defined binary relationships between constructs.

    • Robert West
    • , Cristina A. Godinho
    • , Lauren Connell Bohlen
    • , Rachel N. Carey
    • , Janna Hastings
    • , Carmen E. Lefevre
    •  & Susan Michie
  • Article |

    Grotzinger et al. develop a multivariate method for analysing the joint genetic architectures of complex traits: genomic structural equation modelling. They provide several applications of the method, including a joint analysis of five psychiatric traits.

    • Andrew D. Grotzinger
    • , Mijke Rhemtulla
    • , Ronald de Vlaming
    • , Stuart J. Ritchie
    • , Travis T. Mallard
    • , W. David Hill
    • , Hill F. Ip
    • , Riccardo E. Marioni
    • , Andrew M. McIntosh
    • , Ian J. Deary
    • , Philipp D. Koellinger
    • , K. Paige Harden
    • , Michel G. Nivard
    •  & Elliot M. Tucker-Drob
  • News & Views |

    Undoubtedly our technology surpasses anything seen in nonhumans, but is this the result of individual genius or collective learning?

    • Rachel L. Kendal
  • Letter |

    Matoba et al. examine genetic components of smoking behaviours in the Japanese population, identifying seven novel loci and 11 diseases that share genetic bases with smoking behaviours.

    • Nana Matoba
    • , Masato Akiyama
    • , Kazuyoshi Ishigaki
    • , Masahiro Kanai
    • , Atsushi Takahashi
    • , Yukihide Momozawa
    • , Shiro Ikegawa
    • , Masashi Ikeda
    • , Nakao Iwata
    • , Makoto Hirata
    • , Koichi Matsuda
    • , Michiaki Kubo
    • , Yukinori Okada
    •  & Yoichiro Kamatani