Journal Club

Highlighting recent, timely papers selected by Academy member labs

Category Archives: Social Sciences

Is scientific progress waning? Too many new papers may mean novel ideas rarely rack up citations

There are so many papers coming out in the largest fields of science that new ideas can’t get a foothold, according to a recent study in PNAS. Researchers analyzed citation trends for 90 million papers and found that in very … Continue reading

Categories: Journal Club | Social Sciences | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Frustrations can combust into a riot regardless of age, politics, or gender

The most common caricature of riots suggests criminal young men are the culprits. But a recent study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B suggests that is not necessarily the case. The study used a video game to incite virtual … Continue reading

Categories: Journal Club | Psychological and Cognitive Sciences | Social Sciences | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Well-connected members of tight-knit groups spread controversial ideas much more readily than “influencers”

The people who spread new and controversial ideas—changes in diet, exercise routine, political leaning, or even attitudes about vaccination—may not be the Kim Kardashians and Paris Hiltons. According to a recent study in Nature Communications, those with the most actual … Continue reading

Categories: Journal Club | Social Sciences | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Emotional associations, more than knowledge, determine how much people care about the deep sea

With new technological advances in deep-sea mining, the ocean floor’s trove of valuable metals and rare earth elements is coming within reach of commercial mining operations. The impending reality of this practice, and its associated environmental risks, raises the question … Continue reading

Categories: Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences | Ecology | Journal Club | Social Sciences | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gossip drives social bonding and helps people learn

Oscar Wilde said the only thing worse than being talked about was not being talked about. Nevertheless, chit-chat about others has a dubious reputation. That’s unfair, say psychologists and social scientists, who argue that gossip is a useful communication tool, … Continue reading

Categories: Anthropology | Journal Club | Psychological and Cognitive Sciences | Social Sciences | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

To predict the success of tree-planting schemes, look to villagers’ involvement

Tree-planting projects are sprouting up worldwide in an effort to sequester carbon. Acres of saplings are quick to plant but don’t necessarily have staying power: many die or are cut down before the trees grow to maturity. A recent study … Continue reading

Categories: Environmental Sciences | Journal Club | Political Science | Social Sciences | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Interdisciplinary study brings a humanist perspective to research on land use change

Decades ago, Brazil’s northeastern State of Bahia produced much of the world’s cocoa for chocolate. Most farms grew their cacao trees interspersed with other native trees, in dense agricultural forests. Children played at the forest edges. Today those children are … Continue reading

Categories: Agriculture | Journal Club | Social Sciences | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PREVIEW Editorial: Scientific versus Public Debates: A PNAS Case Study

Douglas S. Massey1 and Mary C. Waters2,3 1. Office of Population Research, Princeton University, Wallace Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544 USA 2. To whom correspondence may be addressed. Email: mcw@wjh.harvard.edu 3. Department of Sociology, Harvard University, 540 William James Hall, 33 … Continue reading

Categories: Editorial | Social Sciences | Statistics | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Trends in conservation funding track popular narratives about the illegal wildlife trade

Trends in conservation funding are changing, according to a recent study in World Development. “We see a shift toward funding conservation work that’s increasingly about combatting wildlife trafficking,” says coauthor Jared Margulies, a human-environment geographer at the University of Alabama … Continue reading

Categories: Ecology | Journal Club | Political Science | Social Sciences | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mediating conflict helps community forestry schemes succeed

Empowering people to manage the forests near their homes is one tool of sustainable development. Widely known as “community forestry,” the notion originated in the 1970s with the dream of fair, equitable, and sustainable forest use. But achieving those aims … Continue reading

Categories: Journal Club | Social Sciences | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Model helps explain how social networks form

One person might befriend another because of a shared love of basket weaving. Or, a friendship may instead blossom because that new friend has divergent interests, and can teach the other new hobbies. These opposing factors—seeking similarities and differences in … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Mathematics | Computer sciences | Journal Club | Social Sciences | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment