Comment

  • 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
  • Comment |

    Although important steps have been taken to prevent publication of a disproportionate number of non-reproducible chance findings, null findings are usually still considered disappointing. There is every reason to change this perception, because lack of associations can teach us just as much as significant ones.

    • Albertine J. Oldehinkel
  • Comment |

    Through cooperation we are able to thrive, build societies, culture and technology. But history also reveals our potential for selfishness, spite and prejudice. Studying the neural processes that drive choice behaviour is essential to understand this paradox and develop means to curb greed and extend the limits of cooperation.

    • Carolyn H. Declerck
    •  & Christophe Boone
  • Comment |

    Some acts of human cooperation are not easily explained by traditional models of kinship or reciprocity. Fitness interdependence may provide a unifying conceptual framework, in which cooperation arises from the mutual dependence for survival or reproduction, as occurs among mates, risk-pooling partnerships and brothers-in-arms.

    • Athena Aktipis
    • , Lee Cronk
    • , Joe Alcock
    • , Jessica D. Ayers
    • , Cristina Baciu
    • , Daniel Balliet
    • , Amy M. Boddy
    • , Oliver Scott Curry
    • , Jaimie Arona Krems
    • , Andrés Muñoz
    • , Daniel Sullivan
    • , Daniel Sznycer
    • , Gerald S. Wilkinson
    •  & Pamela Winfrey
  • Comment |

    Many species face the problems of how, when and with whom to cooperate. Comparing responses across species can reveal the evolutionary trajectory of these decisions, including in humans. Using nearly identical economic game methods to compare species could identify the evolutionary constraints and catalysts to cooperation.

    • Sarah F. Brosnan
  • Comment |

    Knowledge that humans could trigger a regime shift in a vital natural system may help in identifying a goal for collective action, but it is unlikely to spur the degree of cooperation needed to avert a catastrophe. Substantial behaviour change can be achieved by manipulating the institutions that govern human action on the commons.

    • Astrid Dannenberg
    •  & Scott Barrett
  • Comment |

    Video games are increasingly exposing young players to randomized in-game reward mechanisms, purchasable for real money — so-called loot boxes. Do loot boxes constitute a form of gambling?

    • Aaron Drummond
    •  & James D. Sauer
  • Comment |

    The complex research, policy and industrial challenges of the twenty-first century require collaborative problem solving. Assessments suggest that, globally, many graduates lack necessary competencies. There is a pressing need, therefore, to improve and expand teaching of collaborative problem solving in our education systems.

    • Stephen M. Fiore
    • , Arthur Graesser
    •  & Samuel Greiff
  • Comment |

    The web is increasingly inhabited by the remains of its departed users, a phenomenon that has given rise to a burgeoning digital afterlife industry. This industry requires a framework for dealing with its ethical implications. The regulatory conventions guiding archaeological exhibitions could provide the basis for such a framework.

    • Carl Öhman
    •  & Luciano Floridi
  • Comment |

    Many have argued that populism dominated the 2016 US presidential election. Textual analysis of electoral discourse in the United States, Greece and Venezuela suggests that the overall level of populism in the US election was in fact moderate. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump engaged in populist discourse, but Trump lacked consistency.

    • Kirk A. Hawkins
    •  & Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser
  • Comment |

    In response to recommendations to redefine statistical significance to P ≤ 0.005, we propose that researchers should transparently report and justify all choices they make when designing a study, including the alpha level.

    • Daniel Lakens
    • , Federico G. Adolfi
    • , Casper J. Albers
    • , Farid Anvari
    • , Matthew A. J. Apps
    • , Shlomo E. Argamon
    • , Thom Baguley
    • , Raymond B. Becker
    • , Stephen D. Benning
    • , Daniel E. Bradford
    • , Erin M. Buchanan
    • , Aaron R. Caldwell
    • , Ben Van Calster
    • , Rickard Carlsson
    • , Sau-Chin Chen
    • , Bryan Chung
    • , Lincoln J. Colling
    • , Gary S. Collins
    • , Zander Crook
    • , Emily S. Cross
    • , Sameera Daniels
    • , Henrik Danielsson
    • , Lisa DeBruine
    • , Daniel J. Dunleavy
    • , Brian D. Earp
    • , Michele I. Feist
    • , Jason D. Ferrell
    • , James G. Field
    • , Nicholas W. Fox
    • , Amanda Friesen
    • , Caio Gomes
    • , Monica Gonzalez-Marquez
    • , James A. Grange
    • , Andrew P. Grieve
    • , Robert Guggenberger
    • , James Grist
    • , Anne-Laura van Harmelen
    • , Fred Hasselman
    • , Kevin D. Hochard
    • , Mark R. Hoffarth
    • , Nicholas P. Holmes
    • , Michael Ingre
    • , Peder M. Isager
    • , Hanna K. Isotalus
    • , Christer Johansson
    • , Konrad Juszczyk
    • , David A. Kenny
    • , Ahmed A. Khalil
    • , Barbara Konat
    • , Junpeng Lao
    • , Erik Gahner Larsen
    • , Gerine M. A. Lodder
    • , Jiří Lukavský
    • , Christopher R. Madan
    • , David Manheim
    • , Stephen R. Martin
    • , Andrea E. Martin
    • , Deborah G. Mayo
    • , Randy J. McCarthy
    • , Kevin McConway
    • , Colin McFarland
    • , Amanda Q. X. Nio
    • , Gustav Nilsonne
    • , Cilene Lino de Oliveira
    • , Jean-Jacques Orban de Xivry
    • , Sam Parsons
    • , Gerit Pfuhl
    • , Kimberly A. Quinn
    • , John J. Sakon
    • , S. Adil Saribay
    • , Iris K. Schneider
    • , Manojkumar Selvaraju
    • , Zsuzsika Sjoerds
    • , Samuel G. Smith
    • , Tim Smits
    • , Jeffrey R. Spies
    • , Vishnu Sreekumar
    • , Crystal N. Steltenpohl
    • , Neil Stenhouse
    • , Wojciech Świątkowski
    • , Miguel A. Vadillo
    • , Marcel A. L. M. Van Assen
    • , Matt N. Williams
    • , Samantha E. Williams
    • , Donald R. Williams
    • , Tal Yarkoni
    • , Ignazio Ziano
    •  & Rolf A. Zwaan
  • Comment |

    Early adolescence (age 10–14) is an important window of opportunity to address gender socialization as the basis for health and social justice. This Comment explains why this is the case and provides illustrative examples of existing evidence on strategies to promote gender equitable attitudes in young adolescents.

    • Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli
    • , Marina Plesons
    •  & Avni Amin
  • Comment |

    Why isn’t there a strong relation between income and happiness? Why do people avoid or seek self-confirmatory or even false information? Why do they play the lottery and buy insurance? Taking account of belief-based utility can enable economics to make sense of these and a multitude of other puzzling phenomena.

    • George Loewenstein
    •  & Andras Molnar
  • Comment |

    Identity formation is an important developmental process during adolescence, with several applied and public health implications. To prevent identity development from going astray, educational efforts, prevention programmes and policy initiatives are needed that help young people develop a healthy sense of identity.

    • Seth J. Schwartz
    •  & Mariya Petrova
  • Comment |

    Predatory journals are a global and growing problem contaminating all domains of science. A coordinated response by all stakeholders (researchers, institutions, funders, regulators and patients) will be needed to stop the influence of these illegitimate journals.

    • Manoj Mathew Lalu
    • , Larissa Shamseer
    • , Kelly D. Cobey
    •  & David Moher
  • Comment |

    Our bloated prisons have become dangerous places with record levels of crowding, mental illness, drug abuse and self-harm. Should we be looking for a more humane and imaginative approach to designing prisons that seeks to rehabilitate rather than punitively punish?

    • Yvonne Jewkes
  • Comment |

    The recently updated US National Institutes of Health clinical trials policies will apply broadly to studies involving experimental manipulations of humans. These studies will require registration and reporting in ClinicalTrials.gov, grant application submission under a clinical trials funding opportunity announcement, and Good Clinical Practice training for investigators.

    • William T. Riley
    • , Melissa Riddle
    •  & Michael Lauer
  • Comment |

    The National Institutes of Health has broadened its definition and changed the reporting requirements for ‘clinical trials’. What are the implications for basic human behavioural and brain science?

    • Jeremy M. Wolfe
    •  & Nancy G. Kanwisher
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Comment |

    We propose to change the default P-value threshold for statistical significance from 0.05 to 0.005 for claims of new discoveries.

    • Daniel J. Benjamin
    • , James O. Berger
    • , Magnus Johannesson
    • , Brian A. Nosek
    • , E.-J. Wagenmakers
    • , Richard Berk
    • , Kenneth A. Bollen
    • , Björn Brembs
    • , Lawrence Brown
    • , Colin Camerer
    • , David Cesarini
    • , Christopher D. Chambers
    • , Merlise Clyde
    • , Thomas D. Cook
    • , Paul De Boeck
    • , Zoltan Dienes
    • , Anna Dreber
    • , Kenny Easwaran
    • , Charles Efferson
    • , Ernst Fehr
    • , Fiona Fidler
    • , Andy P. Field
    • , Malcolm Forster
    • , Edward I. George
    • , Richard Gonzalez
    • , Steven Goodman
    • , Edwin Green
    • , Donald P. Green
    • , Anthony G. Greenwald
    • , Jarrod D. Hadfield
    • , Larry V. Hedges
    • , Leonhard Held
    • , Teck Hua Ho
    • , Herbert Hoijtink
    • , Daniel J. Hruschka
    • , Kosuke Imai
    • , Guido Imbens
    • , John P. A. Ioannidis
    • , Minjeong Jeon
    • , James Holland Jones
    • , Michael Kirchler
    • , David Laibson
    • , John List
    • , Roderick Little
    • , Arthur Lupia
    • , Edouard Machery
    • , Scott E. Maxwell
    • , Michael McCarthy
    • , Don A. Moore
    • , Stephen L. Morgan
    • , Marcus Munafó
    • , Shinichi Nakagawa
    • , Brendan Nyhan
    • , Timothy H. Parker
    • , Luis Pericchi
    • , Marco Perugini
    • , Jeff Rouder
    • , Judith Rousseau
    • , Victoria Savalei
    • , Felix D. Schönbrodt
    • , Thomas Sellke
    • , Betsy Sinclair
    • , Dustin Tingley
    • , Trisha Van Zandt
    • , Simine Vazire
    • , Duncan J. Watts
    • , Christopher Winship
    • , Robert L. Wolpert
    • , Yu Xie
    • , Cristobal Young
    • , Jonathan Zinman
    •  & Valen E. Johnson
  • Comment |

    The development of autonomous weapon systems, by removing the human element of warfare, could make war crimes and atrocities a thing of the past. But if these systems are unable to respect the principles of humanitarian law, we might create a super-intelligent predator that is beyond our control.

    • James Dawes
  • Comment |

    Science, by its nature, is open to uncertainty and interpretation, but politicization — fuelled by motivated reasoning and advances in the technological environment — is leading to a new level of science scepticism among citizens and scientists themselves. What can be done to address these crises?

    • James N. Druckman
  • Comment |

    It has long been assumed that grammar is a system of abstract rules, that the world's languages follow universal patterns, and that we are born with a ‘language instinct’. But an alternative paradigm that focuses on how we learn and use language is emerging, overturning these assumptions and many more.

    • Morten H. Christiansen
    •  & Nick Chater
  • Comment |

    Europe has witnessed an increase in covert cultural racism that is reflected in recent political turmoil in its nation-states. Far-right movements and populists are exploiting fear about existential and ontological threats to spur the exclusion of unwanted ‘others’, such as Muslims, Roma, and refugees.

    • Catarina Kinnvall
  • Comment |

    Basic income is a democratizing reform that is long overdue. A guarantee of basic security is necessary to allow people to stand as more independent. Other institutional adjustments are needed, but basic income will help other policies designed to support human development to be more effective.

    • Louise Haagh
  • Comment |

    We recommend the widespread use of a simple, inexpensive, easy-to-implement, and uniquely powerful tool to improve the transparency and reproducibility of behavioural research — video recordings.

    • Rick O. Gilmore
    •  & Karen E. Adolph
  • Comment |

    Deradicalization programmes are the cornerstone of counter-terrorism strategies in many countries, yet few have been evaluated for their effectiveness. Stakeholders must introduce standards to ensure basic elements are in place, such as programme development, staff training, advisory services, and transparency.

    • Daniel Koehler
  • Comment |

    Should human genome editing be limited to somatic cells, or should germline genome editing also be permitted? Should (apparently) permissible human genome editing be limited to therapeutic purposes, or should enhancement purposes also be permitted? Who decides, and on what basis?

    • Françoise Baylis
  • Comment |

    Brainstorming was developed over 60 years ago, along with its key concept that ‘no idea is a bad idea’. But could the opposite be true, is brainstorming stifling, rather than unleashing, our creativity? In environments in which ideas go unchallenged, there are techniques that can improve creativity by encouraging criticism.

    • David Burkus
  • Comment |

    Slavery is not a thing of the past but has simply morphed from chattel slavery into forced labour and debt bondage. While consumers are preoccupied with cheap labour and goods, and businesses aren't held accountable for their supply chains, we continue to fuel this US$150 billion profit-making industry.

    • Andrew Wallis
  • Comment |

    Language is a common underlying cause of conflict in multi-ethnic societies. Facilitated dialogue — a method of conflict mediation — is being used in countries such as Myanmar to mitigate language-based conflict, acknowledge language rights, and encourage societies to adopt a culture of dialogue.

    • Joseph Lo Bianco
  • Comment |

    New regulations for research that involves human subjects deregulate much ordinary social and behavioural science research. The new rules support greater flexibility for researchers and institutional review boards, while affording the greatest protection for research participants.

    • Susan T. Fiske
    •  & Jeanne Rivard
  • Comment |

    Social networks are not a new phenomenon — people have always associated with like-minded others — but the advent of social media has led to a vast increase in the amount of social information that we see. We need data and experiments to understand how this information shapes our political landscape.

    • Helen Margetts
  • Comment |

    ‘Stop and test’ assessments do not rigorously evaluate a student's understanding of a topic. Artificial intelligence-based assessment provides constant feedback to teachers, students and parents about how the student learns, the support they need and the progress they are making towards their learning goals.

    • Rose Luckin
  • Comment |

    Societal altruism is changing. Increased awareness and use of online social media is providing new ways of inspiring collective action and support for critical societal challenges. What makes some social causes go viral while others never seem to take off?

    • Sander van der Linden
  • Comment |

    Clinically useful tools to identify the aberrant neural circuitry in individuals with psychiatric illness are lacking, as are treatments that do more than just address symptoms. Neuroplasticity-based treatments and computational neuroscience may hold some of the keys to unlocking the golden age of psychiatry.

    • Sophia Vinogradov
  • Comment |

    Business ethics research is not currently a cumulative science, but it must become one. The benefits to humanity from research that helps firms improve their ethics could be enormous, especially if that research also shows that strong ethics improves the effectiveness of companies.

    • Jonathan Haidt
    •  & Linda Trevino
  • Comment |

    Education reform in the United States has stalled and persistent achievement gaps remain. The challenges of overcoming socioeconomic disadvantages cannot be ignored if we are to develop an education system that will prepare all students to be productive members of the twenty-first century.

    • Paul Reville
  • Comment |

    The brain can be viewed as an organic computer that can be reprogrammed to incorporate external elements, such as artificial tools. But is there a risk that our increasing reliance on digital devices, such as smartphones, could also be reprogramming our brains and blunting our human attributes?

    • Miguel A. L. Nicolelis
  • Comment |

    Despite significant investment, contemporary anticorruption efforts have failed to be effective. A new index — the Index of Public Integrity — offers a transparent, evidence-based approach to controlling corruption and measuring progress.

    • Alina Mungiu-Pippidi
  • Comment |

    Performance data is dominating education policy, with many researchers and policymakers convinced that a data-based approach results in improved performance. The implications of this should be questioned by the research community to promote debate and consideration of choices excluded by data dependency.

    • Jenny Ozga
  • Comment |

    To understand voting behaviour, we must consider voters' emotions and their interaction with electoral arrangements and the complex functions elections serve in democracies. We can then optimize voting via electoral ergonomics — the design of electoral arrangements that consider voters' bodies and minds.

    • Michael Bruter
    •  & Sarah Harrison
  • Comment |

    As humans, our decision-making process is biased towards maintaining the status quo, even if an alternative choice has substantial long-term benefits. This cognitive myopia and present bias, when applied to decisions that affect sustainability, could be threatening our future.

    • Elke U. Weber