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Stories by Maria Konnikova

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

Happy first birthday, SciAm blogs!

Today, the Scientific American blog network turns one. Happy birthday! To celebrate, we've decided to turn the tables a bit on you, our readers, by taking a page from Ed Yong: for the last four years, Ed has asked his readers to tell him a bit about themselves and why they are reading his blog...

July 5, 2012 — Maria Konnikova

Room for magic: A conversation with Lyndsay Faye

In 1845, New York City saw the establishment of its first ever police department. It’s hard to imagine how the city had managed to survive—and thrive—without one – and harder still to think how it would have continued to do so after the influx of Irish immigrants from the Great Famine...

June 28, 2012 — Maria Konnikova

If we remember more, can we read deeper-and create better? Part I.

I’m clawing away at the wall of the Rubin Museum of Art (fourth floor). And so are all the people around me. You’d think we were, for some rather strange reason, imitating a group of rabid squirrels as they make their way en masse up some hefty tree trunk...

June 1, 2012 — Maria Konnikova

The Innate Irresistibility of Film

When I was seven years old, my mom took me to see Curly Sue . Though I don’t remember much of the movie, two scenes made quite the impression: the first, when James Belushi asks Alisan Porter to hit him on the head with a baseball bat, and the second, when Bill, Sue, and Grey sit in the 3-D movie theater.At first glance, that second one doesn’t seem to pack quite the same punch--insert pun grimace here--as a little girl swinging a huge bat at a man’s forehead...

April 15, 2012 — Maria Konnikova

Hunters of Myths: Why Our Brains Love Origins

A stylized apple with a bite taken out of its right side: chances are, even if you don’t own a single Apple product, you would still recognize the ubiquitous logo.

April 7, 2012 — Maria Konnikova
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