• Article |

    A theory of motor learning based on the principle of contextual inference reveals that adaptation can arise by both creating and updating memories and changing how existing memories are differentially expressed, and predicts evoked recovery and context-dependent single-trial learning.

    • James B. Heald
    • , Máté Lengyel
    •  & Daniel M. Wolpert
  • Article |

    Data collected from crisis helplines during the COVID-19 pandemic show that pandemic-related issues replaced rather than exacerbated underlying anxieties, and demonstrate that helpline data are useful indicators of public mental health.

    • Marius Brülhart
    • , Valentin Klotzbücher
    •  & Stephanie K. Reich
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Two randomized controlled trials demonstrate the ability of text-based behavioural ‘nudges’ to improve the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines, especially when designed to make participants feel ownership over their vaccine dose.

    • Hengchen Dai
    • , Silvia Saccardo
    •  & Daniel M. Croymans
  • Article |

    Observational and experimental studies of people seeking to improve objects, ideas or situations demonstrate that people default to searching for solutions that add new components rather than for solutions that remove existing components.

    • Gabrielle S. Adams
    • , Benjamin A. Converse
    •  & Leidy E. Klotz
  • Article |

    An analysis of 16 types of facial expression in thousands of contexts in millions of videos revealed fine-grained patterns in human facial expression that are preserved across the modern world.

    • Alan S. Cowen
    • , Dacher Keltner
    •  & Gautam Prasad
  • Article |

    Lapses in attention before remembering partially account for why we remember or forget in the moment, why some individuals remember better than others, and why heavier media multitasking is related to worse memory.

    • Kevin P. Madore
    • , Anna M. Khazenzon
    •  & Anthony D. Wagner
  • Article |

    The results obtained by seventy different teams analysing the same functional magnetic resonance imaging dataset show substantial variation, highlighting the influence of analytical choices and the importance of sharing workflows publicly and performing multiple analyses.

    • Rotem Botvinik-Nezer
    • , Felix Holzmeister
    •  & Tom Schonberg
  • Article |

    In contrast to a previous study in which only bankers showed increased dishonesty when reminded of their profession, this study found that such reminders induced some dishonesty in bankers, although the effect was not significant, and that this effect was not unique to bankers.

    • Zoe Rahwan
    • , Erez Yoeli
    •  & Barbara Fasolo
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A US national experiment showed that a short, online, self-administered growth mindset intervention can increase adolescents’ grades and advanced course-taking, and identified the types of school that were poised to benefit the most.

    • David S. Yeager
    • , Paul Hanselman
    •  & Carol S. Dweck
  • Review Article |

    A Review of advances in memory-editing techniques in humans suggests that these techniques are advancing beyond science fiction and could hold promise for translation into clinical practice.

    • Elizabeth A. Phelps
    •  & Stefan G. Hofmann
  • Review Article |

    Understanding the behaviour of the machines powered by artificial intelligence that increasingly mediate our social, cultural, economic and political interactions is essential to our ability to control the actions of these intelligent machines, reap their benefits and minimize their harms.

    • Iyad Rahwan
    • , Manuel Cebrian
    •  & Michael Wellman
  • Article |

    Responses from more than two million people to an internet-based survey of attitudes towards moral dilemmas that might be faced by autonomous vehicles shed light on similarities and variations in ethical preferences among different populations.

    • Edmond Awad
    • , Sohan Dsouza
    •  & Iyad Rahwan
  • Letter |

    Using estimates of metabolic costs of the brain and body, mathematical predictions suggest that the evolution of adult Homo sapiens-sized brains and bodies is driven by ecological rather than social challenges and is perhaps strongly promoted by culture.

    • Mauricio González-Forero
    •  & Andy Gardner
  • Letter |

    The wisdom of the crowd can be improved by using an algorithm that selects the answer that is more popular than people predict, rather than the answer that is most popular.

    • Dražen Prelec
    • , H. Sebastian Seung
    •  & John McCoy
  • Review Article |

    A review into the complex effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol on the dopamine system, examining data from animal and human studies and discussing the necessary future direction of research.

    • Michael A. P. Bloomfield
    • , Abhishekh H. Ashok
    •  & Oliver D. Howes
  • Letter |

    A native Amazonian society rated consonant and dissonant chords and vocal harmonies as equally pleasant, whereas Bolivian city- and town-dwellers preferred consonance, indicating that preference for consonance over dissonance is not universal and probably develops from exposure to particular types of polyphonic music.

    • Josh H. McDermott
    • , Alan F. Schultz
    •  & Ricardo A. Godoy
  • Letter |

    Phylogenetic methods were applied to a cross-cultural database of traditional Austronesian societies to test the link between ritual human sacrifice and the origins of social hierarchy—the presence of sacrifice in a society stabilized social stratification and promoted inherited class systems.

    • Joseph Watts
    • , Oliver Sheehan
    •  & Russell D. Gray
  • Letter |

    To test whether there is a relationship between the level of national corruption and the intrinsic honesty of individuals, a behavioural test of the honesty of people from 23 countries was conducted; the authors found that high national scores on an index of rule-breaking are linked with reduced personal honesty.

    • Simon Gächter
    •  & Jonathan F. Schulz
  • Letter |

    In human societies, individuals who violate social norms may be punished by third-party observers who have not been harmed by the violator; this study suggests that a reason why the observers are willing to punish is to be seen as more trustworthy by the community.

    • Jillian J. Jordan
    • , Moshe Hoffman
    •  & David G. Rand
  • Letter |

    Using economic games, the authors examine the role of religion in the persistence of human cooperation; individuals who claim that their gods are moralizing, punitive and knowledgeable about human affairs are more likely to play fairly towards geographically distant co-religionists.

    • Benjamin Grant Purzycki
    • , Coren Apicella
    •  & Joseph Henrich
  • Letter |

    An analysis of when children develop a sense of fairness (receiving less or more than a peer) is compared across seven different societies; aversion to receiving less emerges early in childhood in all societies, whereas aversion to receiving more emerges later in childhood and only in three of the seven societies studied.

    • P. R. Blake
    • , K. McAuliffe
    •  & F. Warneken
  • Letter |

    Initially weak episodic memories in humans can be selectively enhanced and consolidated following later emotional learning involving conceptually related information, suggesting a mechanism for how we can remember initially inconsequential information after a relevant later experience.

    • Joseph E. Dunsmoor
    • , Vishnu P. Murty
    •  & Elizabeth A. Phelps
  • Letter |

    Many factors have been proposed as contributors to risk of alcohol abuse, but quantifying their influence has been difficult; here a longitudinal study of a large sample of adolescents and machine learning are used to generate models of predictors of current and future alcohol abuse, assessing the relative contribution of many factors, including life history, individual personality differences, brain structure and genotype.

    • Robert Whelan
    • , Richard Watts
    •  & Veronika Ziesch.
  • Letter |

    A prospective longitudinal study identifies the earliest known indicator of social disability in human infancy: decline in attention to others’ eyes in infants who are later diagnosed with autism; the decline is evident already within the first 2 to 6 months of life, which reveals the early unfolding of the disorder but also offers a promising opportunity for the future of early intervention.

    • Warren Jones
    •  & Ami Klin
  • Brief Communications Arising |

    • David G. Rand
    • , Joshua D. Greene
    •  & Martin A. Nowak
  • Letter |

    Political mobilization messages delivered to 61 million Facebook users during the 2010 US congressional elections directly influenced political self-expression, information seeking and real-world voting behaviour of millions of people and their friends, with social transmission occurring mainly between close friends and having a greater effect than the direct effect of the messages themselves.

    • Robert M. Bond
    • , Christopher J. Fariss
    •  & James H. Fowler
  • Letter |

    The social networks of Hadza hunter-gatherers are structurally similar to modern social networks and show signs of clustering in cooperative behaviour, which suggests that these networks may have contributed to the emergence of cooperation in early humans.

    • Coren L. Apicella
    • , Frank W. Marlowe
    •  & Nicholas A. Christakis
  • Article |

    Humans and animals readily learn to associate neutral cues paired with rewards, but the exact role that dopamine release has in this learning is controversial. Using previously established rat strains selectively bred for many generations to have greater or lesser propensity to assign value to learned cues, this study uses cyclic voltammetry to measure dopamine signals in the different strains and also examines the effect of blocking dopamine. It is concluded that dopamine selectively mediates motivational, rather than predictive, aspects of the cues.

    • Shelly B. Flagel
    • , Jeremy J. Clark
    •  & Huda Akil
  • Letter |

    Millions of pounds per year are spent on various 'brain-training' programs; however, the efficacy and performance of these training regimes is still unclear. In collaboration with the BBC, a six-week online study of brain training was conducted. Although improvements were observed in the specific tasks used for training, in the authors' view there was no evidence that these improvements transferred to other untrained cognitive tasks.

    • Adrian M. Owen
    • , Adam Hampshire
    •  & Clive G. Ballard
  • Letter |

    Social science hypotheses suggest that humans prefer more equality in outcome distributions because the knowledge of inequality reduces the reward experience. Here, functional MRI was used to test directly for inequality-averse social preferences in the brain during monetary transfers between pairs of participants and an experimenter. The results indicate that the brain's reward circuitry is sensitive to distribution inequality and is actively modulated relative to context.

    • Elizabeth Tricomi
    • , Antonio Rangel
    •  & John P. O’Doherty
  • Letter |

    Peptide hormones such as oxytocin and vasopressin influence social behaviour in several mammalian species. Here it is shown that a population of interneurons in the rat olfactory bulb releases vasopressin, and that vasopressin signalling is required in the olfactory system for proper social recognition in rats. Although vasopressin may not work in exactly the same way in humans, social recognition mediated by experience-dependent vasopressin release may be common.

    • Vicky A. Tobin
    • , Hirofumi Hashimoto
    •  & Mike Ludwig