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Volume 1 Issue 1, January 2017


  • Individual and collective human behaviour is studied by numerous fields, spanning the social and natural sciences and beyond. Genuine progress in understanding human behaviour can only be achieved through a multidisciplinary community effort. Nature Human Behaviour aims to foster that effort.



  • Authors who wish to publish their work with us have the option of a registered report. With this format, acceptance in principle happens before the research outcomes are known. As a result, publication bias is neutralized, as are incentives for practices that undermine the validity of scientific research.


  • 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?

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Comment & Opinion

  • 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

    Nature Outlook:

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
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  • Researchers dig deeper into why the cultural practice of female genital cutting continues — and how best to halt it.

    • Kendall Powell
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Research Highlights

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News & Views

  • Confronting fears is a core component of cognitive behavioural therapies for anxiety disorders, but also a major hurdle for patients. A new study introduces a method for reducing defensive responses without consciously confronting the threatening cues, paving the way for fear-reducing therapies via unconscious processing.

    • Daniela Schiller
    News & Views
  • A study now shows that 20% of the population accounts for 60–80% of several adult social ills. Outcomes for this group can be accurately predicted from as early as age 3 years, using a small set of indicators of disadvantage. This finding supports policies that target children from disadvantaged families.

    • James J. Heckman
    • Jorge Luís García
    News & Views
  • A new theory of city size, embodying ideas from economic complexity and cultural evolution, provides a rich basis for speculating on their economic structure and suggests hints as to how old cities might regenerate their past prosperity and how new ones might generate more success.

    • Michael Batty
    News & Views
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  • Faces are positioned in a statistical distribution of faces extracted from the environment. Social inferences from faces (for example, trustworthiness) arise from the statistical position of faces in this learned distribution.

    • Ron Dotsch
    • Ran R. Hassin
    • Alexander Todorov
  • Every time we make a choice, we maintain an explicit representation of our confidence in that choice. Using eye-tracking and behavioural measures, the authors show that tracking decision uncertainty is helpful in guiding future behaviour.

    • Tomas Folke
    • Catrine Jacobsen
    • Benedetto De Martino
  • He and colleagues show that attention plays a key role in anchoring visual orientation in 3D space. The effect of attention was contingent on the ground being visible, suggesting our terrestrial visual system is best served by its ecological niche.

    • Liu Zhou
    • Chenglong Deng
    • Zijiang J. He
  • The authors asked human participants to listen to and imitate randomly generated drumming sequences from each other. Participants turned initially random sequences into rhythmically structured patterns that are characterized by all six statistical universals found in world music.

    • Andrea Ravignani
    • Tania Delgado
    • Simon Kirby
  • Using whole-genome data for single-nucleotide polymorphism and results from genome-wide association studies, the authors show that people’s preference for pairing with those with similar phenotypic traits has genetic causes and consequences.

    • Matthew R. Robinson
    • Aaron Kleinman
    • Peter M. Visscher
  • By analysing the supermarket purchases of more than 280,000 people over several years, Riefer et al. show that people’s preferences follow their choices, rather than the other way around.

    • Peter S. Riefer
    • Rosie Prior
    • Bradley C. Love
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Amendments & Corrections

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