News & Comment

  • 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
  • Editorial |

    No amount of engineering, laws or regulations will be sufficient to sustain the commons without a deeper understanding of how, when and under what conditions humans cooperate.

  • 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
  • News and Views |

    Many studies have shown that human cooperation is fostered by altruistic cooperation and the altruistic punishment of freeriders. A study now shows significant asymmetries between cooperation in the initial provision of a social good and cooperation in the maintenance of an established social good.

    • Herbert Gintis
  • News and Views |

    What would motivate someone to willingly enter frontline combat against the Islamic State? New research finds three compelling reasons: commitment to some sacred values, forsaking commitment to their own kin for those same values, and belief in the spiritual strength of one’s own group compared to that of the enemy.

    • John G. Horgan
  • News and Views |

    Social norms are the dominant behavioural patterns in a group that affect how people follow rules and regulations. A new modelling study shows, for different localities around the world, how the combination of biophysical context and social norms affects cooperation in water conservation.

    • Marco A. Janssen
  • 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
  • World View |

    Attempts to persuade people to be healthier often have limited success. Public health should focus more on marginal gains that require little or no effort, says Michael Hallsworth.

    • Michael Hallsworth
  • 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
  • Editorial |

    In the face of growing economic inequality, rebalancing the wealth gap at global and national levels is key to alleviating health, educational and lifestyle inequalities — but could our respect for established hierarchies hinder a move toward fairer distribution?

  • News and Views |

    Modelling and experiments have shown that strategic information can undermine ‘altruistic’ cooperation. Using a model that varies the distribution of costs for finding out, it is now shown that information can also promote self-interested ‘strategic’ cooperation.

    • Adam Bear
    •  & David G. Rand