Volume 1 Issue 4 April 2017

Volume 1 Issue 4

An analysis of millions of book co-purchases shows that liberals and conservatives are also divided in the types of science they consume. 

See Shi et al. 1, 0079 (2017).

Image: Tithi Luadthong / Alamy Stock Photo. Cover design: Samantha Whitham.


  • Editorial |

    Disciplinary divides and diverse views on the role of ethical review in the social and behavioural sciences shape interpretations of the recent Common Rule changes. Challenges lay ahead in creating a shared standard for all those engaged in research that involves human subjects.

  • Editorial |

    ‘Echo chambers’ in political and public scientific debate are a growing concern, but how prevalent are they and how can scientists measure their influence?

Comment and Opinion

  • Comment |

    New regulations for research that involves human subjects deregulate much ordinary social and behavioural science research. The new rules support greater flexibility for researchers and institutional review boards, while affording the greatest protection for research participants.

    • Susan T. Fiske
    •  & Jeanne Rivard
  • Comment |

    Social networks are not a new phenomenon — people have always associated with like-minded others — but the advent of social media has led to a vast increase in the amount of social information that we see. We need data and experiments to understand how this information shapes our political landscape.

    • Helen Margetts

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News and Views |

    People who purchase liberal books have distinct tastes for science compared with those who purchase conservative books. This raises questions about the existence of ‘echo chambers’ on matters where science can inform political debates.

    • Toby Bolsen
  • News and Views |

    The assumption of rationality is at the heart of action explanations. A Bayesian model of theory of mind, which explicitly relies on this assumption, can predict with high accuracy the inferences that people make about the mental states underlying others’ actions.

    • Gergely Csibra


  • Perspective |

    Inequality and unfairness are not the same thing. Starmans, Sheskin and Bloom summarize evidence showing that people are bothered not by economic inequality, but rather by economic unfairness.

    • Christina Starmans
    • , Mark Sheskin
    •  & Paul Bloom


  • Letter |

    Using a large-scale analysis of publication records and a random-walk model, Jia and colleagues show that the evolution of scientists’ research interests throughout their careers is characterized by a regular and reproducible pattern.

    • Tao Jia
    • , Dashun Wang
    •  & Boleslaw K. Szymanski
  • Article |

    Lefebvre et al. present behavioural and neural evidence showing that the ‘optimism bias’ is a manifestation of a general cognitive tendency for preferential learning from positive, compared with negative, outcomes.

    • Germain Lefebvre
    • , Maël Lebreton
    • , Florent Meyniel
    • , Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde
    •  & Stefano Palminteri
  • Article |

    TROVE2, a gene implicated in inflammatory response and autoimmunity, is also associated with enhanced memory for emotionally charged events in post-traumatic stress disorder.

    • Angela Heck
    • , Annette Milnik
    • , Vanja Vukojevic
    • , Jana Petrovska
    • , Tobias Egli
    • , Jochen Singer
    • , Pablo Escobar
    • , Thierry Sengstag
    • , David Coynel
    • , Virginie Freytag
    • , Matthias Fastenrath
    • , Philippe Demougin
    • , Eva Loos
    • , Francina Hartmann
    • , Nathalie Schicktanz
    • , Bernardo Delarue Bizzini
    • , Christian Vogler
    • , Iris-Tatjana Kolassa
    • , Sarah Wilker
    • , Thomas Elbert
    • , Torsten Schwede
    • , Christian Beisel
    • , Niko Beerenwinkel
    • , Dominique J.-F. de Quervain
    •  & Andreas Papassotiropoulos