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Literally Psyched

Literally Psyched

Conceived in literature, tested in psychology


The Big Lesson of a Little Prince: (Re)capture the Creativity of Childhood

My heart leaps up when I beholdA rainbow in the sky:So was it when my life began;So is it now I am a man;So be it when I shall grow old,Or let me die!The Child is father of the Man;I could wish my days to beBound each to each by natural piety.~William Wordsworth, 1802 “Once upon a time, there was a little prince who lived on a planet that was barely larger than he, and who needed a friend.”* That’s how Antoine de Saint-Exupéry would have liked to begin his story of the Little Prince...

March 18, 2012 — Maria Konnikova

Hamlet and the Power of Beliefs to Shape Reality

Writing at the close of the nineteenth century, William James, the father of modern psychology (and Henry’s brother), observed that, “Whilst part of what we perceive comes through our senses from the objects around us, another part (and it may be the larger part) always comes out of our own head.” We now know that it is, in fact, the larger part: perception is just as much about construal, belief, the interaction of environment and memory as it is about sensory inputs...

February 18, 2012 — Maria Konnikova

The Psychology Behind Gift-Giving and Generosity

A few weeks ago psychologist Dan Ariely, inspired by the holiday frenzy, pondered the hows and whys of gift-giving. Reading his piece—an endorsement of a behavioral economics view that challenges the rational economic contention that gift-giving is a largely irrational dilemma—at once brought to mind the story that has to me (and, I suspect, to many others) always epitomized the spirit of gifts and generosity: O...

January 4, 2012 — Maria Konnikova

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