Volume 1 Issue 3 March 2017

Volume 1 Issue 3

A woman lights an oil lamp to celebrate Deepavali, the Hindu festival of lights. On the night of the new moon in the Tamil month of Aippasi, Hindu families counter the dark by decorating their homes with kolams (geometric designs drawn with rice flour) and oil lamps, and setting off sparklers and fireworks. Performing such religious acts may help individuals build strong, trusting relationships with others.

See Power 1, 0057 (2017).

Image: Eleanor A. Power. Cover design: Samantha Whitham.


  • Editorial |

    Donald Trump's recently declared belief that torture is an effective method of interrogation is misguided and has no basis in evidence.

Comment and Opinion

  • Comment |

    ‘Stop and test’ assessments do not rigorously evaluate a student's understanding of a topic. Artificial intelligence-based assessment provides constant feedback to teachers, students and parents about how the student learns, the support they need and the progress they are making towards their learning goals.

    • Rose Luckin
  • Comment |

    Societal altruism is changing. Increased awareness and use of online social media is providing new ways of inspiring collective action and support for critical societal challenges. What makes some social causes go viral while others never seem to take off?

    • Sander van der Linden

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Whether ritual behaviour reliably predicts cooperation is hotly debated. A study evaluating religion and social links among all adult residents of two South Indian villages finds that religious practice clearly predicts reciprocal cooperative ties. Rigorous quantitative field studies like this are a powerful way to resolve long-standing debates.

    • Joseph Bulbulia
  • News & Views |

    Immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases not only protects the individual but also has a social benefit. A study now shows that communicating this effect, known as herd immunity, can have a substantial impact on a person's inclination to vaccinate, an insight that could be leveraged in vaccine advocacy.

    • Dirk Brockmann



  • Letter |

    Using a detailed ethnographic dataset from rural India, Power finds that the outwardly religious engage in more prosocial acts, are perceived as more prosocial by others in their social network and leverage greater social support as a result.

    • Eleanor A. Power
  • Letter |

    Betsch and colleagues show that vaccination willingness is higher in cultures that focus on collective benefits. For cultures that lack this prosocial cultural inclination, communicating the concept of herd immunity improves willingness to vaccinate.

    • Cornelia Betsch
    • , Robert Böhm
    • , Lars Korn
    •  & Cindy Holtmann
  • Letter |

    When given time to deliberate in an economic game, individuals become less cooperative. Grossmann and colleagues show that players directed toward a third-person perspective reorientate from selfish to common goals and maintain cooperation.

    • Igor Grossmann
    • , Justin P. Brienza
    •  & D. Ramona Bobocel
  • Article |

    Chen et al. construct a model of the neural bases of semantic representation that unifies domain-specific (distinct systems represent different kinds of things) and domain-general (knowledge for all kinds is encoded in a single network) accounts.

    • Lang Chen
    • , Matthew A. Lambon Ralph
    •  & Timothy T. Rogers
  • Article |

    Data obtained over twelve months from a large cohort of stroke patients shows that most recovery occurs within three months and is predicted by the severity of the initial deficit and patients’ education level.

    • L. E. Ramsey
    • , J. S. Siegel
    • , C. E. Lang
    • , M. Strube
    • , G. L. Shulman
    •  & M. Corbetta