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Literally Psyched

Literally Psyched

Conceived in literature, tested in psychology

In praise of paper

Exactly two weeks ago today, at around eight in the evening, we—along with the rest of downtown Manhattan—lost all power. One minute, blaring news and reassurances from the mayor and the utilities companies, and the next, total silence...

November 12, 2012 — Maria Konnikova

What Jane Austen can teach us about how the brain pays attention

I don’t remember if I had any problems paying attention to Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park when I first read it. I doubt it, though. I devoured all of my Austen in one big gulp, book after book, line after line, sometime around the eighth grade...

October 22, 2012 — Maria Konnikova

The Great American Novel and the search for group cohesion

In the early 1800s, the United States was on its way to becoming an established nation on the global stage. It had won its independence, was forging stronger diplomatic and commercial ties with its European counterparts, and was expanding rapidly on its own territory...

September 18, 2012 — Maria Konnikova

Revisiting Robbers Cave: The easy spontaneity of intergroup conflict

In the summer of 1954, 22 young boys were invited to spend some time at a summer camp. The site was to be an isolated, densely wooded stretch in the Sans Bois mountains, in southeastern Oklahoma, where two cabins—far enough apart that they were beyond seeing or hearing distance of one another—would be put at the boys’ disposal...

September 5, 2012 — Maria Konnikova

Warning: This story might make you anxious

Daniel Smith has discovered the perfect cure for battling overwhelming sweat—the kind of sweat that soaks through the shirt, leaves nasty residue, and makes you want to avoid the company of fellow human beings for the foreseeable future...

July 23, 2012 — Maria Konnikova

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