News & Comment

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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
  • News & Views |

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

    • Rachel L. Kendal
  • World View |

    Communications technology, such as messaging services and social media, can be used to prevent the dissemination of independent information, and misinformation can be used to spread hatred and incite violence. However, argues John Green Otunga, it is possible to harness the power of information and communications technology to help prevent conflict.

    • John Green Otunga
  • Comment |

    Antibiotic resistance is an emerging global danger. Reaching responsible prescribing decisions requires the integration of broad and complex information. Artificial intelligence tools could support decision-making at multiple levels, but building them needs a transparent co-development approach to ensure their adoption upon implementation.

    • Timothy M. Rawson
    • , Raheelah Ahmad
    • , Christofer Toumazou
    • , Pantelis Georgiou
    •  & Alison H. Holmes
  • News & Views |

    Which side of the brain does what in speech and language processing is a debate that has engaged and divided the neuroscientific community for more than a century. A new study by Flinker et al. provides a more nuanced interpretation of how the left and right hemispheres of the brain process acoustic information important for speech processing.

    • Liberty S. Hamilton
  • Comment |

    The physical and social environment that surrounds us has a profound impact on our brains and behaviour. This impact is so fundamental that a complete understanding of neural mechanisms cannot be developed without taking into account the extensive interactions between neurobiology, psychology, behaviour and the environment.

    • Marc G. Berman
    • , Omid Kardan
    • , Hiroki P. Kotabe
    • , Howard C. Nusbaum
    •  & Sarah E. London
  • News & Views |

    Migration is a central feature of human behaviour, yet there is little consensus about its long-term impact on people and populations. A new study examines the records of Finnish Karelians evacuated to western Finland during World War II and suggests that integration into a host population entails a trade-off between social status and fertility.

    • Mary C. Towner
  • Editorial |

    Publication bias threatens the ability of science to self-correct. It’s time to change how null or negative findings are perceived and offer incentives for their publication.

  • News & Views |

    Can the eye movements we make when there is nothing to look at shed light on our cognitive processes? A new study shows that tiny gaze shifts reveal people’s attended locations in memorized—rather than visual—space. The discovery indicates that the oculomotor system is engaged in the focusing of attention within the internal space of memory.

    • Susana Martinez-Conde
    •  & Robert G. Alexander
  • Comment |

    Despite a century of convergence, there is still no evidence of fully closing gender gaps in employment and wages, possibly reflecting a suboptimal allocation of talent. Economic research has emphasized the role of gender differences in preferences, work–life balance considerations and gender identity norms in shaping the observed gender trends.

    • Barbara Petrongolo
  • Comment |

    The benefits of data sharing to the scientific community are widely agreed upon. But does data sharing also benefit individual scientists? I argue that data sharing may carry tangible benefits to one’s own research that can outweigh any potential associated costs.

    • Laurence T. Hunt
  • News & Views |

    Behavioural neuroscience and reinforcement learning theory distinguish between ‘model-free’ and ‘model-based’ computations that can guide behaviour. A recent study demonstrates that Pavlovian learning can give rise to behavioural responses that are not well accounted for by this existing dichotomy, suggesting that there may be greater complexity to the computations that underlie Pavlovian prediction.

    • Hillary A. Raab
    •  & Catherine A. Hartley
  • News & Views |

    The causes of early marriage often remain unclear. A new study tests whether parental interests and coercion explain high rates of marriage for girls aged 15–18 in rural Tanzania. It finds that most brides choose their own partners and do not suffer harm to their physical or mental wellbeing later in life, and suggests alternative explanations.

    • Laura Stark
  • Editorial |

    Participatory knowledge creation on platforms such as Wikipedia has revealed the enormous democratizing potential of the Internet. It has also exposed its limitations.

  • World View |

    Despite opprobrium from the scientific community, the creation of the first CRISPR babies by germline genome editing has led to a debate more about execution than intent. We need public education, engagement and empowerment to reach ‘broad societal consensus’ on whether, not how, to pursue heritable genome editing, argues Françoise Baylis.

    • Françoise Baylis
  • Comment |

    Human enhancement technologies are opening tremendous opportunities but also challenges to the core of what it means to be human. We argue that the goal of human enhancement should be to enhance quality of life and well-being not only of individuals but also of the communities they inhabit.

    • Daphne Bavelier
    • , Julian Savulescu
    • , Linda P. Fried
    • , Theodore Friedmann
    • , Corinna E. Lathan
    • , Simone Schürle
    •  & John R. Beard
  • Comment |

    Gender inequalities in work–family balance have wide-reaching ramifications: women shoulder the greatest burden of unpaid work and care, both decreasing their opportunities for employment and contributing significantly to the gender pay gap. Concerted measures at both the policy and ideological level are required to redress this problem.

    • Oriel Sullivan
  • Comment |

    Scientific research on consciousness is critical to multiple scientific, clinical, and ethical issues. The growth of the field could also be beneficial to several areas including neurology and mental health research. To achieve this goal, we need to set funding priorities carefully and address problems such as job creation and potential media misrepresentation.

    • Matthias Michel
    • , Diane Beck
    • , Ned Block
    • , Hal Blumenfeld
    • , Richard Brown
    • , David Carmel
    • , Marisa Carrasco
    • , Mazviita Chirimuuta
    • , Marvin Chun
    • , Axel Cleeremans
    • , Stanislas Dehaene
    • , Stephen M. Fleming
    • , Chris Frith
    • , Patrick Haggard
    • , Biyu J. He
    • , Cecilia Heyes
    • , Melvyn A. Goodale
    • , Liz Irvine
    • , Mitsuo Kawato
    • , Robert Kentridge
    • , Jean-Remi King
    • , Robert T. Knight
    • , Sid Kouider
    • , Victor Lamme
    • , Dominique Lamy
    • , Hakwan Lau
    • , Steven Laureys
    • , Joseph LeDoux
    • , Ying-Tung Lin
    • , Kayuet Liu
    • , Stephen L. Macknik
    • , Susana Martinez-Conde
    • , George A. Mashour
    • , Lucia Melloni
    • , Lisa Miracchi
    • , Myrto Mylopoulos
    • , Lionel Naccache
    • , Adrian M. Owen
    • , Richard E. Passingham
    • , Luiz Pessoa
    • , Megan A. K. Peters
    • , Dobromir Rahnev
    • , Tony Ro
    • , David Rosenthal
    • , Yuka Sasaki
    • , Claire Sergent
    • , Guillermo Solovey
    • , Nicholas D. Schiff
    • , Anil Seth
    • , Catherine Tallon-Baudry
    • , Marco Tamietto
    • , Frank Tong
    • , Simon van Gaal
    • , Alexandra Vlassova
    • , Takeo Watanabe
    • , Josh Weisberg
    • , Karen Yan
    •  & Masatoshi Yoshida
  • News & Views |

    A study finds that social norms have become weaker in the United States over the past 200 years. The changing strength of norms is linked to fluctuations in societal levels of innovation and risky behaviour.

    • Michael E. W. Varnum
  • News & Views |

    Privacy regulations for online platforms allow users to control their personal data. But what happens when our private attributes or behaviour can be inferred without our personal data? Researchers reveal that the behaviour of individuals is predictable using only the information provided by their friends in an online social network.

    • David Garcia
  • Editorial |

    Understanding how humans behave, why we behave the way we do, what the consequences of our behaviour are and how behaviour can change are complex, multi-faceted questions, addressed by numerous diverse disciplines that rely on different methods and types of data. We welcome them all in the journal.