Volume 1 Issue 10 October 2017

Volume 1 Issue 10

Heritability estimates derived from genome-wide association studies are substantially lower than so-called SNP- or chip-based heritability estimates, raising questions about ‘hidden heritability’. A mega-analysis of whole-genome data from seven populations demonstrates substantial ‘hidden heritability’ for educational attainment and reproductive behaviour, which most likely reflects heterogeneity in phenotypic measurements or gene–environment interactions rather than genetic heterogeneity

See Tropf et al. 1, 757-765 (2017).

Image: DNA helix: from2015 / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty; Magnifying glass: Michael Burrell / Alamy Stock Photo. Cover design: Samantha Whitham.


  • Editorial |

    A paper in this issue identifies a persistent influence of irrelevant information in social contexts, which results in biased and unfair judgements. These widespread social biases can be insidious as they inadvertently enter research and policy.

Comment and Opinion

  • 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 |

    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 |

    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

Research Highlights

News and Views

  • News and Views |

    A quasi-experimental study of the generalized enforcement of low-level violations in New York City finds that proactive policing increases crime. This finding suggests the importance of taking a careful look at aggressive enforcement approaches used by police to reduce crime as they may be causing harm in urban communities.

    • David Weisburd
  • News and Views |

    It is easier to make sense of the visual environment if we know where to look. Eye movement measurements show just how quickly we can find the informative parts of a scene, even when we do not know what to expect.

    • Kyle R. Cave
  • News and Views |

    A new study shows that brain responses to unfairness during economic decision-making can predict current and future depression indices. Neural response patterns in the amygdala related to inequity tracked indices of depression, particularly for prosocial individuals who tend to be most self-sacrificing.

    • Megan E. Speer
    •  & Mauricio R. Delgado


  • Perspective |

    Friederici et al. outline a view of the neural organization of language that is compatible with a description of language as a biologically determined computational mechanism that yields an infinite number of hierarchically structured expressions.

    • Angela D. Friederici
    • , Noam Chomsky
    • , Robert C. Berwick
    • , Andrea Moro
    •  & Johan J. Bolhuis


  • Letter |

    There are striking similarities among creole languages. Blasi et al. show that these similarities can in fact be explained by the same processes as for non-creole languages, the difference being that creoles have more than one language in their ancestry.

    • Damián E. Blasi
    • , Susanne Maria Michaelis
    •  & Martin Haspelmath
  • Letter |

    Using the 2014 New York Police Department slowdown as a natural experiment, the authors show that civilian complaints of major crime decreased during and after reductions in proactive policing, which challenges existing research on the topic.

    • Christopher M. Sullivan
    •  & Zachary P. O’Keeffe
  • Letter |

    Cao et al. demonstrate that people systematically rely on social base rates when making judgements about individuals, even when these base rates are statistically irrelevant. The authors show that multiple remedies are required to eliminate this bias of base rate intrusion.

    • Jack Cao
    • , Max Kleiman-Weiner
    •  & Mahzarin R. Banaji
  • Article |

    A mega-analysis of whole-genome data from seven populations demonstrates substantial hidden heritability for educational attainment and reproductive behaviour, highlighting the importance of sample-specific gene–environment interaction in complex traits.

    • Felix C. Tropf
    • , S. Hong Lee
    • , Renske M. Verweij
    • , Gert Stulp
    • , Peter J. van der Most
    • , Ronald de Vlaming
    • , Andrew Bakshi
    • , Daniel A. Briley
    • , Charles Rahal
    • , Robert Hellpap
    • , Anastasia N. Iliadou
    • , Tõnu Esko
    • , Andres Metspalu
    • , Sarah E. Medland
    • , Nicholas G. Martin
    • , Nicola Barban
    • , Harold Snieder
    • , Matthew R. Robinson
    •  & Melinda C. Mills