Reviews & Analysis

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  • To interact safely with our environment, we must be able to judge our confidence in what we perceive. But what cues do we use to compute perceptual confidence? Geurts et al.1 decode brain activity and show that perceptual confidence is based on the distribution of sensory uncertainty, combining uncertainty driven by the input and the visual system.

    • Pascal Mamassian
    News & Views
  • Syndemic theory considers how social inequalities drive disease interaction. A new study uses a mixed-methods approach to examine how stress interacts with multiple diseases to affect quality of life in Soweto, South Africa.

    • Cassandra L. Workman
    News & Views
  • Scientific progress depends on researchers updating their beliefs when new evidence arises. McDiarmid and colleagues show that psychologists adjust their beliefs after seeing new results from a replication project. While updating is less than a Bayesian model would justify, it is not undermined by personal investment.

    • Michael Gordon
    • Thomas Pfeiffer
    News & Views
  • The coming years are likely to see slowing economic growth, which has significant consequences for developed democracies. This Perspective by Burgess et al. considers the implications of slowed growth and proposes a guided civic revival approach to addressing challenges.

    • Matthew G. Burgess
    • Amanda R. Carrico
    • Steve Vanderheiden
  • Greater exposure to media coverage of traumatic events is associated with greater symptoms of post-traumatic stress. A new study by Dick et al. indicates that this relationship is stronger in youth with a specific pattern of brain activation that may make them more vulnerable to the effects of trauma.

    • Lisa M. Shin
    • Samuel R. Sommers
    News & Views
  • A key question in human evolutionary genetics is whether and how natural selection has shaped the human genome. A new study by Song and colleagues uses GWAS data to examine evidence for the effects of polygenic adaptation in complex traits at different time scales.

    • Oscar Lao
    News & Views
  • Registered Reports were introduced a decade ago as a means for improving the rigour and credibility of confirmatory research. Chambers and Tzavella overview the format’s past, its current status and future developments.

    • Christopher D. Chambers
    • Loukia Tzavella
    Review Article
  • Wagenmakers and colleagues describe seven statistical procedures that increase transparency in data analysis. These procedures highlight common ground among data analysts from different schools and find inspiration in Merton’s ethos of science.

    • Eric-Jan Wagenmakers
    • Alexandra Sarafoglou
    • Balazs Aczel
  • Although intellectual humility is a prerequisite for credible science, it is rarely practised. Hoekstra and Vazire make recommendations on how to increase intellectual humility in research articles and highlight the crucial role of peer reviewers in promoting intellectually humble manuscripts.

    • Rink Hoekstra
    • Simine Vazire
  • Monumental architecture is fundamental for understanding ancient complex societies as it is the result of coordinated projects that frame political and ceremonial activity1. A new study documents hundreds of architectural centres in Mexico, revealing monumental architecture at a scale unimaginable even a decade ago2.

    • Robert M. Rosenswig
    News & Views
  • Predicted values and feedback from errors in those predictions are fundamental to adaptive decision-making. Heffner et al. directly compare the contributions of reward predictions and emotional predictions to social decisions and find, unexpectedly, that emotional predictions are often the more important determinant of choice.

    • Bernard W. Balleine
    News & Views
  • Peters and Kriegeskorte review the behavioural and neural-network-modelling literature on object-based visual representations. They call for new tasks that will bridge research in cognitive sciences and engineering in this domain.

    • Benjamin Peters
    • Nikolaus Kriegeskorte
    Review Article
  • What is the mind? Scientists may not agree on an answer, but new research shows that people across diverse cultures do. This shared conception of the human mind appears to be a cognitive structure that organizes numerous mental capacities along a small number of dimensions: bodily sensation, cognition and, in some cultural settings, emotion.

    • Bertram F. Malle
    News & Views
  • Biobanks facilitate large-scale tests of hypotheses that may advance health, but whether biobanking participants adequately comprehend the potential uses of their data should concern researchers and the public. Consent matters because it provides a singular safeguard and a participatory mechanism to influence science’s production of new forms of power.

    • Elizabeth Bromley
    • Dmitry Khodyakov
    News & Views
  • The ethics of research into the genetics of sexuality is not straightforward. A new study by Zietsch et al. investigates a hypothesis for the evolutionary basis of same-sex sexual behaviour. This increases our understanding of the genetics of complex behaviour, raising questions about whether and how such knowledge should be used.

    • Julian Savulescu
    • Brian D. Earp
    • Udo Schuklenk
    News & Views
  • The Review presents a comprehensive set of Bayesian analysis reporting guidelines (BARG), incorporating features of previous guidelines and extending these with many additional details for contemporary Bayesian analyses. It is accompanied by an extensive example of applying the BARG.

    • John K. Kruschke
    Review Article Open Access
  • Behavioural science increasingly informs policy, but findings are not always replicated. Bryan et al. describe an emerging heterogeneity revolution. They recommend that researchers use heterogeneity in treatment effects to develop more robust theories of causality and strengthen the field.

    • Christopher J. Bryan
    • Elizabeth Tipton
    • David S. Yeager
  • Figuring out the referent of a new word is a hard problem, yet children solve it early and often. A new model by Bohn et al. proposes that young children rationally combine different sources of information when learning language. This account precisely predicts and explains novel developmental findings, above and beyond competing proposals.

    • Tomer D. Ullman
    News & Views
  • Social and behavioural factors impact the emergence, spread and control of human disease. This paper reviews current disease modelling methodologies and the challenges and opportunities for integration with data from social science research and risk communication and community engagement practice.

    • Jamie Bedson
    • Laura A. Skrip
    • Benjamin M. Althouse
    Review Article