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  • The global increase in violence against women during the COVID-19 pandemic has been termed the ‘shadow pandemic’. A study by Ravindran and Shah analysed evidence of violence against women in Indian society and find that, under strict lockdown rules, domestic violence and cybercrime complaints increased, whereas rape and sexual assault decreased.

    • Subrata Sankar Bagchi
    • Satyaki Paul
    News & Views
  • Although we have been able to track how cultural innovations spread among farming populations in prehistoric Europe, we know relatively little about this among European hunter-gatherers. Dolbunova et al. use a range of techniques to shed light on how the making and use of pottery spread among early-to-mid-Holocene hunter-gatherers west of the Urals.

    • Stephen Shennan
    News & Views
  • When the term ‘vaccine hesitancy’ first appeared, it was deemed ambiguous and difficult to measure. A systematic review of published articles on vaccine hesitancy suggests it should be defined as a state of indecisiveness regarding a vaccination decision, independently of behaviour, and that it needs new modes of analysis and measurement.

    • Heidi J. Larson
    News & Views
  • Non-random mating affects the genetic makeup of populations and challenges the validity of popular genetics methods. A new study explores the unique patterns of non-random mating in the Japanese population and underscores the importance of large-scale genetic studies outside European-descended groups.

    • Karin J. H. Verweij
    • Abdel Abdellaoui
    News & Views
  • Artificial intelligence systems have struggled to understand common-sense laws of the physical world, even though this ‘intuitive physics’ is rapidly acquired by young humans. Piloto et al. demonstrate that a deep learning system closely modelled on infant cognition outperforms the more traditional ‘learning from scratch’ systems.

    • Susan Hespos
    • Apoorva Shivaram
    News & Views
  • Why are some communities more vulnerable to wildfire smoke than others? Burke et al. study human behaviour during wildfire events by leveraging multiple non-traditional data sources, including internet search results, Twitter updates, and mobility and sensor data. Their results will help to inform better and more equitable policy.

    • Zachary Hervieux-Moore
    • Francesca Dominici
    News & Views
  • A new algorithmic tool developed by Rotaru and colleagues can more accurately predict crime events in US cities. Predictive crime modelling can produce powerful statistical tools, but there are important considerations for researchers to take into account to avoid their findings being misused and doing more harm than good.

    • Andrew V. Papachristos
    News & Views
  • Recent studies have suggested that attention switches rhythmically, with up to eight cycles per second. An article by Brookshire calls these results into question, showing that widely used methods in the field do not separate rhythmic from arrhythmic structure.

    • Malte Wöstmann
    News & Views
  • An enduring puzzle in evolution is the maintenance of costly traits. Šaffa et al.1 examine phylogenetic evidence for the origins of genital mutilation/cutting (GM/C) in human societies, and find that these practices probably emerged multiple times during the past 5,000–7,000 years, and that female GM/C arose only after male GM/C was present in a society.

    • Mhairi A. Gibson
    News & Views
  • Past research has put forward competing hypotheses about the determinants of the evolvement of romantic love, including it being a consequence of economic development or the result of transmission of culture. A new large-scale empirical study by Baumard et al.1 puts these different hypotheses to the test.

    • Trine Bille
    News & Views
  • Developing theories by designing experiments that are aimed at falsifying them is a core endeavour in empirical sciences. By analysing 365 articles dedicated to the study of consciousness, Yaron et al.’s study1 shows that there is almost no dialogue between the four main theories of this elusive phenomenon and gives us an interactive database with which to probe the literature.

    • Axel Cleeremans
    News & Views
  • Despite substantial attempts to end the global trade in elephant ivory, illegal transnational networks continue to operate. A new study by Wasser and colleagues1 uses genetic matches between related elephants to reveal the scale, interconnectedness and audacity of traffickers in illegal ivory.

    • Jennifer Jacquet
    News & Views
  • To make sense of what we hear, the brain must integrate information over time. How is this temporal integration orchestrated in human auditory cortex? A new study by Norman-Haignere and colleagues1 introduces a promising method to estimate neural integration windows and demonstrates that category-specific versus more generic computations operate on distinct timescales.

    • Lea-Maria Schmitt
    • Jonas Obleser
    News & Views
  • It is seemingly in the interest of high-income countries to prioritize vaccinating their own population against COVID-19, despite it being immoral. However, mathematical modelling by Ye et al.1 shows that this approach offers only limited, short-term benefits, whereas equitable vaccine distribution would substantially curb the emergence and spread of new variants.

    • Dan Yamin
    News & Views
  • Similarities and differences between deep learning models and primate vision have been the focus of recent research. Audition is comparatively less-studied. A new report describes the emergence of human-like auditory perception in a deep neural network, and suggests a promising way to relate perceptual behaviour to specific aspects of the environment.

    • Rufin VanRullen
    News & Views
  • To interact safely with our environment, we must be able to judge our confidence in what we perceive. But what cues do we use to compute perceptual confidence? Geurts et al.1 decode brain activity and show that perceptual confidence is based on the distribution of sensory uncertainty, combining uncertainty driven by the input and the visual system.

    • Pascal Mamassian
    News & Views
  • Syndemic theory considers how social inequalities drive disease interaction. A new study uses a mixed-methods approach to examine how stress interacts with multiple diseases to affect quality of life in Soweto, South Africa.

    • Cassandra L. Workman
    News & Views
  • Scientific progress depends on researchers updating their beliefs when new evidence arises. McDiarmid and colleagues show that psychologists adjust their beliefs after seeing new results from a replication project. While updating is less than a Bayesian model would justify, it is not undermined by personal investment.

    • Michael Gordon
    • Thomas Pfeiffer
    News & Views
  • Greater exposure to media coverage of traumatic events is associated with greater symptoms of post-traumatic stress. A new study by Dick et al. indicates that this relationship is stronger in youth with a specific pattern of brain activation that may make them more vulnerable to the effects of trauma.

    • Lisa M. Shin
    • Samuel R. Sommers
    News & Views
  • A key question in human evolutionary genetics is whether and how natural selection has shaped the human genome. A new study by Song and colleagues uses GWAS data to examine evidence for the effects of polygenic adaptation in complex traits at different time scales.

    • Oscar Lao
    News & Views