Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Volume 3 Issue 9, September 2019

Guns, mass shootings and the media

The United States is experiencing mass shooting events with alarming frequency. Porfiri et al. show that over the past 20 years, there has been an association between the occurrence of a mass shooting and the rate of growth in firearm acquisition. This association is partly driven by media coverage, which likely increases public worry about more stringent firearms control, leading to more gun purchases.

See Porfiri et al.

Cover image: Althea Labre, Shinnosuke Nakayama, Maurizio Porfiri, New York University Tandon School of Engineering. Cover design: Bethany Vucomanovic


  • Science denialism causes greater harm when left unchallenged. An article in this issue provides evidence for effective rebuttal strategies.



Top of page ⤴

Comment & Opinion

  • Populist politicians—a diverse bunch that include business tycoons, academics and even comedians—are winning elections in Europe and beyond. Jan Zielonka discusses the reasons underlying the rise of populism and how liberals must appeal to the younger generation and regain voters’ trust.

    • Jan Zielonka
    World View
Top of page ⤴

News & Views

  • As the spectre of ‘post-truth’ looms over society, an important question remains: how to effectively respond to the growing climate of science denial? New research shows that leaving denial unanswered can have negative consequences. Fortunately, countering science deniers can reduce their influence, even among those most likely to hold anti-scientific beliefs.

    • Sander van der Linden
    News & Views
  • People are often told they ‘view the world through rose-coloured glasses’. But do desires in fact change perceptual representations? A new study suggests people not only report observing what they wish was true, but they are also more likely to see what they wish was true.

    • Tali Sharot
    News & Views
Top of page ⤴

Research Highlights

Top of page ⤴


  • This perspective discusses the theoretical and statistical foundations of the analyses of inter-individual differences in task-related functional MRI, offering recommendations for improving statistical validity and interpretability of inter-individual differences in functional MRI.

    • Maël Lebreton
    • Sophie Bavard
    • Stefano Palminteri
Top of page ⤴


  • Risi et al. apply machine learning prediction models to nearly two million US Department of State cables from the 1970s to show that, although it is possible to develop ‘artificial archivists’, historical significance is extremely difficult to predict.

    • Joseph Risi
    • Amit Sharma
    • Duncan J. Watts
  • Porfiri et al. show that firearm acquisitions in the United States increase with mass shootings, and this growth may be driven by anticipation of stricter regulations as media coverage about gun control increases with shooting events.

    • Maurizio Porfiri
    • Raghu Ram Sattanapalle
    • Rifat Sipahi
  • Strimling et al. propose a model that explains the connection between ideology and moral opinions, and validate it with 44 years of polling data, confirming that positions connected to harm and fairness are more popular in liberals and become more popular over time.

    • Pontus Strimling
    • Irina Vartanova
    • Kimmo Eriksson
  • Do people think that behaviour is due to genetics, regardless of whether it’s good or bad? Here Lebowitz et al. find that people think prosocial behaviour is more influenced by genetics than antisocial behaviour; this asymmetry seems to be motivated by people’s desire to blame wrongdoers.

    • Matthew S. Lebowitz
    • Kathryn Tabb
    • Paul S. Appelbaum
  • Why are people more likely to report seeing what they want to see? Leong et al. take a neurocomputational approach to demonstrate that motivational effects on perceptual judgements reflect a bias in both response and perception.

    • Yuan Chang Leong
    • Brent L. Hughes
    • Jamil Zaki
  • Neural processing of speech adapts to goal-oriented behaviour. Here, Rutten et al. show that this process already takes place in primary auditory cortex, where task-relevant acoustic information in speech sounds is selectively enhanced.

    • Sanne Rutten
    • Roberta Santoro
    • Narly Golestani
Top of page ⤴

Amendments & Corrections

Top of page ⤴


Quick links