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Stories by Maria Konnikova92 articles archived since 1845

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

The perils of hindsight judgment

Paul Meehl was renowned for many things: his insistence on statistical and research rigor; his prescient views on schizophrenia; his advancements in psychotherapy; his creation of one of the scales of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI—one of the most widely used tests of personality in clinical research and practice.) He is equally famous for his aversion to academic conferences.

May 1, 2013 — Maria Konnikova

Why grad schools should require students to blog

Approximately one month ago, I fell into a rabbit hole – the rabbit hole better known as Writing My Dissertation. I’d been working toward that point for five years and counting, through seminars and conferences, experiments and literature reviews, conversations and late-night therapy sessions with an open statistics textbook and eyes full of tears over yet another beta or epsilon that I couldn’t for the life of me comprehend.

April 12, 2013 — Maria Konnikova

A meeting of the minds

Today marks a big occasion for the Scientific American blog network: the launch of the MIND blogs, the Scientific American MIND blog network. Six new blogs, six new areas of exploration for the human mind--and a transition of all existing psychology-related blogs (like this one) to the new platform.

March 13, 2013 — Maria Konnikova

Valentine's Day on the planet of the Little Prince

The wedding book; image courtesy of Seth Fishman. When my wonderful agent, Seth Fishman, got married this summer, he decided on one of the most original and thoughtful presents for his bride-to-be, Marget, that I had ever seen: a bound book of reflections on love from his friends and clients.

February 14, 2013 — Maria Konnikova

The man who couldn t speak and how he revolutionized psychology

Bicêtre Hospital, the place of Leborgne's illness. Credit: Wikimedia Commons, National Library of France. When he was 30 years old, Louis Victor Leborgne lost the ability to speak—or speak in any matter that made any sort of sense.

February 8, 2013 — Maria Konnikova

Sherlock Holmes, the mindful detective

Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes (Viking, 2013). Cover design: Francesca Belanger Today marks the official US release of my new book, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes.

January 3, 2013 — Maria Konnikova

The beautiful fragility of language

Alas, this is not how my first day of kindergarten went. Credit: Creative Commons, Archives New Zealand. I remember my first day of school with such clarity that it might as well have happened last week.

December 13, 2012 — Maria Konnikova

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