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Literally Psyched

Literally Psyched

Conceived in literature, tested in psychology

The shortest farewells are the best

“Well sir, the shortest farewells are the best,” Casper Gutman—the fat man—tells detective Sam Spade near the end of Dashiell Hammett’s classic noir novel, The Maltese Falcon.

August 19, 2013 — Maria Konnikova

Of polar bears and consciousness: A tribute to Daniel Wegner

Last Friday, July 5, the psychology community lost one of its greatest minds, Daniel Wegner. It's hard to overstate his influence on psychology as a whole -- and on individual students and researchers (myself included) along the way.

July 16, 2013 — Maria Konnikova

The art of storytelling meets the science of autism: A conversation with Richard Panek

I’ve never once written about autism. Not a single time. It’s not that I don’t think it’s an important topic—I do, and crucially so—but only that, each time I return to it, I realize how vast and complex the field is, how much it shifts, how multifaceted and equivocal is each study, each researcher, each point of view.

July 3, 2013 — Maria Konnikova

Why we celebrate the summer solstice

Today, the Northern Hemisphere celebrates the summer solstice, the longest day of the calendar year (happy winter solstice to the Southern Hemisphere!).

June 21, 2013 — Maria Konnikova

A bite of fresh lilac: The age-old allure of edible flowers

Don't they look appetizing? When I was little, I ate lilac petals. With zest. I don’t remember too much about our Moscow apartment, but I do recall with absolutely clarity the large vase overflowing with lilac petals that would appear, like clockwork, every May, along with the long-elusive warmth of spring that was, at long last, allowed to flow into our rooms through the newly opened windows.

June 3, 2013 — Maria Konnikova

Want to be happier and live longer? Protect green spaces

Central Park almost didn’t exist. When it was first proposed, no comparable urban green space could be found in the whole of the United States—and it seemed unlikely that one would arise on land that could be put to other, more profitable use - especially with New York real estate values on a steady rise.

May 16, 2013 — Maria Konnikova

A bagpipe of a moral dilemma

It is a truth universally acknowledged that, out of all musical instruments, bagpipes make the most infernal noise. That, and an out-of-tune violin. The problem with bagpipes, though, is they maintain their infernality no matter how adept you are at playing them.

May 8, 2013 — Maria Konnikova

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